Attn! Always use a VPN when RSSing!
Your IP adress is . Country:
Your ISP blocks content and issues fines based on your location. Hide your IP address with a VPN!
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

The latest news on Startups from Business Insider

older | 1 | .... | 54 | 55 | (Page 56) | 57 | 58 | .... | 135 | newer

    0 0

    Patrick Pan Harvard Student

    It's an extraordinary academic achievement to be admitted to Harvard University. It's arguably an even bigger accomplishment when you're only 15 years old.

    When he entered Harvard, Patrick Pan was a 16-year-old student from Texas, armed with a 2400 SAT score and a plan to graduate in four years with a degree in biomedical engineering. Among his other accomplishments was graduating fifth out of 568 students at Clear Lake High School and being named a 2014 US Presidential Scholar, one of only two in the state.

    Now, he's taking time off from the Ivy League university to be a founding team member and the third employee at GIFYouTube, a San Francisco-based website that allows users to convert their own uploaded videos into GIFs.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the startup was founded by two other Harvard dropouts — brothers Rory O'Reilly, formerly Harvard Class of 2016, and Kieran O'Reilly, formerly Harvard Class of 2017.

    Harvard is known for its lenient leave of absence policy, as detailed in a recent article in student newspaper The Harvard Crimson called "The Dropouts." Famous Harvard dropouts include Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as more recent success stories, such as Annie Wang, one of the founders of the online women's interest magazine Her Campus.

    "With supportive faculty ... and an accommodating return policy, students considering dropping out have few reasons not to do so. While entrepreneurial and artistic opportunities are often time-sensitive, Harvard, these students believe, can wait," The Crimson reports.

    During his first semester at Harvard, Pan took CS50, Harvard's introductory computer science course and the most popular class in the college. While presenting his final project — a program called Rhyme Genius that analyzes rap lyrics to find rhyme schemes — he met the founders of GIFYouTube, who were recruiting CS50 students to come work with them in San Francisco.

    Patrick Pan Harvard Student

    After an internship with the startup this winter, Pan got an offer to leave school and work for GIFYouTube as a full-time coder.

    Harvard approved his application to withdraw halfway through the second week of winter semester, and he said he's learned a ton on the West Coast he couldn't have picked up in the classroom. (He's still probably going to Harvard in the fall, since he's enrolled in a joint program at the New England Conservatory of Music that makes it difficult to take too much time off.)

    "It was definitely a huge decision [to take the semester off], but I realized that this environment would ironically better equip me to gain the most out of college the next few years," Pan said.

    Patrick Pan Harvard Student

    The intense work schedule of a startup is part of what drew Pan to GIFYouTube.

    "I saw their motivation and drive every day — working for hours straight, cooking a very simple quick lunch of just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, exercising in the afternoons," he said. "I was inspired by how dedicated they were."

    The former Harvard student said his time in San Francisco is also helping him explore his independence.

    "Besides the concrete skills that I'm learning from coding every day, there's definitely the idea of finding out if I can live by myself, cook for myself, when I don't have a 9 a.m. class," Pan said.

    Pan believes his work for a startup will better prepare him for the rigors of Harvard.

    "It's sort of like when hikers train in low oxygen masks, so when they're actually up in the mountain they don't feel anything at all," Pan said.

    SEE ALSO: 11 startups to bet your career on

    SEE ALSO: Here's why more than 800 Harvard students signed up for a notoriously hard computer science class

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do


    0 0

    silicon beach surfers

    There are lots of perks to starting a company in Southern California, whether it's the warm weather, proximity to Hollywood, or reasonable distance from Silicon Valley.

    A group of about 300 people working in tech, investing, media, and entertainment in Los Angeles are making the most of one perk in particular: the Pacific Ocean.

    Calling themselves the Silicon Beach Surfers, this group of entrepreneurial-minded folk meets several times a month to hang out, network, and shred some waves.

    The group ranges from rookies to expert surfers. They're always trying out different beaches, from Point Dume in Malibu to the Trestles near San Diego.

    Robert Lambert, founder of tech networking group Silicon Beach LA, started the surfing group with a few friends in 2012. 

    "In many cities and industries, the business sports are still golf, tennis, and racquetball," Lambert said to Business Insider. "Here in L.A. the sport of choice is surfing, which is apparent when you realize how many of the more active and influential people in the L.A. tech and startup community surf."

    Lambert runs the Silicon Beach Surfers operation out of a surf shack in Manhattan Beach, not far from where many of the startups are based. He receives about 10 applications for membership each week and usually accepts three of that group. It costs $50 to apply, and each person has to go through a one-month trial. Once they're approved, membership costs $30 each month. 

    silicon beach surfers

    Beyond how fun it is to do, surfing has become a way for people in the L.A. tech community to make important contacts. Lambert says the group includes employees from Omaze, Crowdfunder, Fullscreen, and Dreamworks, just to name a few.

    "Surfing with the group has been really helpful, whether it's for information, advice or contacts," Hans Yang, VP of Operations for on-demand parking service Luxe Valet, said to Business Insider. "The contacts range from new entrepreneurs all the way to established investors ... And regardless of experience, I enjoy surfing with all of them."

    silicon beach surfers

    Morris May, a special effects expert and founder of virtual reality company Specular Theory, has made several big hires based on contacts he made with the Silicon Beach Surfers. He appointed Ryan Pulliam as Specular Theory's CMO after meeting her surfing.

    Being introduced to Jessica Kantor, an associate director of marketing at the Sundance Institute, also ended up being huge for May's business.

    "We were just hanging out at the surf house, and I told her I do VR. She said, 'I’m really interested in that,'" May told Business Insider. 

    Kantor introduced May to Sundance's New Frontier team, who helped coordinate an exhibit of Specular Theory's work at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

    "That ended up fueling an enormous amount of press for us," May said.

    silicon beach surfersThe Silicon Beach Surfers aren't all about work, though.

    "It’s not only business contacts, but people I genuinely enjoy spending time with," May said. "80% of the time it’s just for fun."

    For Kantor, who didn't know many people when she moved to Los Angeles from New York two years ago, they've been a welcoming community for both work and play. 

    "They've become my social group. We'll talk about the waves while we're on the sand," Kantor said. "Then once we're in the water we'll talk about work in between waves. I’ve found everyone to be super warm, and I’m so excited about lots of their projects." 

    SEE ALSO: See why more startups than ever are setting up shop on the beach in Los Angeles

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do


    0 0

    Rovio Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka

    Scandinavia has given rise to some giant startups. Despite a relative lack of VC funding compared to places like Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs in countries like Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark have developed companies that have changed the world.

    You probably don't realise that some of the world's biggest video games, streaming sites, and hardware manufacturers hail from the cold of Scandinavia - but they do.

    24. Yoogaia

    Yoogaia is one of Finland's newest and most interesting startups. Founded in October 2014, CEO Mikko Petaja has a small team of four people, but has clearly found a niche in an increasingly popular pastime. Yoga is huge, and he's made it accessible and cheaper online. It brings live instruction to people anywhere in the world by conducting classes over web cam. Yoogaia has been given $630,000 in seed funding to launch the first online, interactive yoga company.



    23. Bungalo

    Bungalo is an Icelandic accommodation service that focuses on providing cottages through local families who can help visitors explore the area and culture. It offers a more personal B&B-style experience. It was founded in 2010 and last year expanded to launch in the Canadian market. CEO Haukur Gudjonsson leads a team of seven staff.



    22. Blendin

    Blendin, founded in 2013, secured $100,000 of seed funding in April 2014. It's a new social networking app from Iceland that aims to connects friends who are going out. It pools together information for popular night spots and connects friendship groups all together so that everyone knows the evening plans instead of having to call or message people on WhatsApp, for example. It was nominated for the Nordic Startup Awards last year.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    0 0

    brit morin

    In the introduction to her new book, "Homemakers," Brit Morin says she never expected to be undertaking such a big writing project.

    "After all, I come from the digital generation. You know, the generation that prefers Instagram to Kodak cameras and can't focus on anything for longer than two minutes. The generation of which 72% downloaded at least one app in the past week," she writes.

    "Yes, that generation." 

    As a former employee of both Apple and Google, Morin is thoroughly entrenched in the tech world of Silicon Valley. Her husband, Dave Morin, is a former Facebook employee and the founder of social networking app Path. 

    Brit's personal brand, however, is best defined as a blend between the digital and analog worlds.

    She's the founder and CEO of Brit + Co., a DIY content and ecommerce site that's scored $7.6 million in funding from Index Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Marissa Mayer, and Oak Investment Partners. 

    Brit + Co. features fun articles, recipes, tutorials and even online classes that teach skills like knitting, hand-lettering, and 3D printing.

    Her book, which was published by HarperCollins' William Morrow Paperbacks imprint and officially hits shelves Tuesday, has more of the same content, with each chapter addressing a different room in the home. 

    "So for example, you take the kitchen. I look at what has happened over the past decade — the way we cook, the way we entertain, and how that has evolved with technology," Morin told Business Insider.

    She added that home automation and the Internet of Things will have an enormous effect on people's definition of home.

    "I’m not sure people fully realize how advanced our homes are becoming," she said. "This is the new reality as of today, and it’s only going to advance more."

    After Morin left her product marketing job at Google in 2011, she joined TechShop, a studio in San Francisco where you can pay a monthly fee for access to 3D printers, woodworking equipment, silk screening machines, and laser cutters. 

    "I started taking classes and got obsessed. I loved that all you needed to know was how to design it online, then send it to print," she said. "It’s exciting to see the intersection of creativity and technology play out in real life."

    techshop

    Morin had officially joined the Maker movement, a name given to the use of new technology to create and build things. 

    "The Maker movement is really just a new definition for a cultural shift that has been happening for decades," Morin said. "I like to use this example. At first people thought it was cheating to use cake mix instead of baking from scratch, but sales were soaring, so there was obviously demand for it. It was the same with the microwave, icebox, and the iPhone."

    brit morin

    Most projects in her book —  tassel garlands, patterned tea towels, swirled cakes — aren't too time-intensive.

    But with others, like a gadget-charging nightstand that requires using a charging mat and router, Morin shows off some of her Maker skills.

    That combination of craftiness and tech has led some people dub her the "Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley."

    She says she's flattered by the comparison.

    "It’s definitely a huge compliment," Morin said. "She's really nice."

    While brainstorming a title for her book, Morin found that some considered the word "homemaker" a derogatory term. She says that's because the term has carried a different meaning for previous generations of women, some more positive than others.

    "Our grandmothers' generation was kind of forced to stay home and be a homemaker. For our mothers' generation, women were leaving the home and working," Morin said. "Now women have the choice, and it's OK to do both, and they want to do both."

    Morin knows firsthand just how difficult that can be. She had her first child, a boy named Ansel, in October. 

    "I do prescribe to outsourcing certain services. I don’t go grocery shopping — I use Blue Apron and Foraged for ingredients," she said. "I love having free afternoons to paint or 3D print. It's OK to make time to create and build with my hands."

    SEE ALSO: How WhatsApp's billionaire CEO spent the year after the $19 billion Facebook acquisition

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This guy went from homeless to making $25,000 per Vine


    0 0

    luxe valetOn-demand valet parking app Luxe has raised a $20 million Series A round of funding, the company announced Tuesday.

    The new round of funding, which supplements the $5.5 million seed round Luxe raised in October, was led by investors Redpoint Ventures and Venrock. Ryan Sarver of Redpoint and Brian Ascher of Venrock will join Luxe’s Board of Directors. 

    Luxe co-founder and CEO Curtis Lee first got the idea for his valet parking app while he was running late for a dinner reservation looking for a parking spot in San Francisco — a city notorious for its lack of parking.

    Lee and his then-girlfriend (now-wife) circled the block for half an hour and almost missed their reservation. Lee was so angry, he started sketching out early ideas for the company right there at the restaurant.

    Here's how Luxe works.

    Before you leave your house, you plug in the address you're going to. The app tracks you as you make your way to your destination, and about 10 minutes before you get there, it matches you with a Luxe valet attendant.

    Dressed in a bright blue jacket, your attendant meets you at your destination, hops into your car, and asks when you'll need it back and if you want them to run your car through a car wash or to fill your tank up with gas. Then they take your car to one of several lots in the city that Luxe has struck deals with.

    luxe valet

    Ten minutes before you're ready to leave, you use the app to request the valet to bring your car wherever you are. The most surprising thing about the app is that it costs $5 an hour, or $15 a day. Parking in urban areas is typically much more expensive.

    The Series A funding will be used to expand Luxe's services, which were previously available only in Los Angeles and San Francisco, to new cities including Chicago, Boston, and Seattle by April, Lee said.

    In the coming weeks, Luxe will start recruiting new valets and opening private beta access for users in those cities.

    Lee also says Luxe has seen 90% month-over-month customer growth and 97% transactional growth since Luxe's launch in San Francisco and Los Angeles in October. According to Luxe, the average customer uses the service twice a week.

    Along with the new infusion of money, Luxe also announced Tuesday it will be launching an Android app.

    “The fact is, 90% of Americans have to drive to work or to daily appointments like visiting the doctor, and in major metropolitan areas parking costs have continued to rise as inventory in parking garages is reduced,"Lee explained. "Luxe’s model, where we bring a breakthrough business model together with the latest mobile technology creates efficiencies and cost savings for consumers.” 

    SEE ALSO: This New App Lets You Valet Park Your Car In San Francisco For $15 A Day

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's the YouTube star taking over the internet 10 seconds at a time


    0 0

    altschool max ventillaTwo-year-old education startup AltSchool is re-imagining the traditional school system.

    To pursue its mission of preparing children for the real world, the startup has poached talent from Google, Uber, Rocket Fuel, and Zynga.

    AltSchool announced Wednesday that it has hired former Googler Bharat Mediratta, who was the engineer responsible for Google.com's homepage and search results, as its CTO.

    AltSchool also poached Michael Ginty, who served as Uber's Head of Global Security, to become AltSchool's head of safety. In addition, AltSchool has hired Sue Yoon, formerly a VP of corporate development at Rocket Fuel, to be its VP of finance, and Rajiv Bhatia, who was director of product and studio GM at Zynga, to be its VP of product.

    Founded by ex-Googler Max Ventilla in 2013, AltSchool creates a network of schools for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. Each school, called a "microschool," has about 100 students that learn in multi-age groups, and in larger, multipurpose classrooms than in a typical school.

    Each school has very few shared common spaces, and unlike a typical school, there are no principals on-site.

    Instead, administrative duties are centralized, within specialized teams — Ventilla, who was part of the founding team for Google+, says there are teams for things like teacher recruitment and real estate. 

    AltSchool

    AltSchool's belief is that education today is fundamentally flawed. AltSchool feels the vast majority of people becoming adults today are not set up for that success — and that's largely because they're not receiving an education that's really preparing them to be happy and successful. 

    To solve that problem, AltSchool has created a proprietary technology platform for child-centered learning. AltSchool uses something called "playlists," which consist of a weekly mix of 20 to 25 activities per student per week, including individual projects, small-group projects, or whole-class projects.

    "You may have a group of students building a historically and scale-accurate block from 1906 in San Francisco in Minecraft. You may have another group of students building a catapult or researching the way sundials work," Ventilla says. Each child's playlist's items always tie back to specific goals and milestones they're pursuing in their personalized learning plans.

    Ventilla says AltSchool is focusing on the long-term, and he sees AltSchool as a "multi-decade" project.

    "We're raising funds on that time scale. Our CTO who just joined has a ten-year vest that ends in 2027. That's amazing to have someone who has their equity tied to that kind of time scale," he says.

    "I think the most important longterm focus for all of us is we're building this for our own children. My one-and-a-half-year-old will graduate from AltSchool middle school. Or who knows? We may have a high school by then. So it's very clear what I'm going to be doing for the next 15-plus years."

    AltSchool

    AltSchool's mission is to enable all children to achieve their full potential. The startup wants more people becoming adults every year that are able and ready to thrive in the 21st century. To do that, AltSchool tackles education in a full-stack way: It oversees every aspect of the education experience, from figuring out where to put schools, to creating a technology platform, to communicating with parents. 

    Tuition is steep: $20,000 in San Francisco, and even higher in Palo Alto because of real estate costs.

    "That's considerably lower than comparable schools, certainly schools with similar quality educators," Ventilla says. Some students can qualify for financial aid, however.

    "We have way more demand in any given year than we have spots for, but we aim by the next year to have as much capacity as we would have needed to satisfy all the people on our wait list," Ventilla says.

    AltSchoolFor applicants, AltSchool isn't so much focused on writing an application essay or filling out a questionnaire quite the right way.

    "It's the kind of student and family interviews where we're able to get to know your needs as a family, and see what other groups of families that are applying to nearby AltSchools does it make sense to put you in the same classroom with," Ventilla says.

    When a playlist item is done, it doesn't just get filed away — it goes through a process of real-time assessment. Students may be asked to answer some questions to demonstrate that they understand the material, or they take a picture and upload their project, which becomes part of their living, digital record. Then, teachers can provide feedback and assess whether the student showed competence completing the assignment.

    Parents also have an app they can use to get feedback quickly and efficiently on how their child is doing in school and what he or she is learning.

    A year ago, AltSchool raised $33 million in a Series A round of funding from Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz. Since then, AltSchool has opened three more schools — growing from 20 students to 150 and tripling its employee headcount from 30 to more than 100. And this fall, AltSchool will open new schools in Palo Alto and Brooklyn to accommodate 500 students this year.

    SEE ALSO: The 13 Snapchat stars everyone should be watching

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why we should ban non-vaccinated kids from schools


    0 0

    oakland police car

    Yesterday I wrote about my experience with Nextdoor, the neighborhood-based social network that just raised $110 million in new funding at a reported $1.1 billion valuation

    Here's a gist of how it works: Once you've verified your name and address, you can only communicate with people in close proximity. And, like a local message board, you can also post news, offer up items for sale, or get a group of neighbors together for a block party.

    I found it pretty useless. It was basically people worrying about strangers and getting into fights about parenting styles. 

    I also asked Business Insider readers what they thought, and a lot of them agreed with me. One reader in West Hollywood said 90% of her feed was filled out with random messages about a homeless guy who supposedly steals dogs.

    But there were some dissenting opinions.

    One person in rural Phoenix said he had found a handyman, cleaning lady, and babysitters through the site, and that some people had found lost dogs. Another in Boise said he'd found a handyman and learned useful neighborhood news through the site as well.

    And one reader who lives in Oakland said Nextdoor helped people in his neighborhood break up a crime ring:

    Stolen cars from a Mercedes dealership in San Jose were cruising around the neighborhoods, casing houses, and looking for opportunities for armed burglary and carjacking.  Thanks to Nextdoor, pictures of the vehicles and the perpetrators themselves (taken from Dropcams and security cameras) were rapidly circulated on the Nextdoor site.  License plate numbers were documented, and in several cases, OPD was called when suspicious vehicles were sighted.  This led to over 9 arrests, and has basically dismantled this burglary ring.  

    We’ve not had an incident in several weeks, and the OPD has indicated that the community involvement that was enabled by Nextdoor was key in bringing these thugs into custody.

    So, as I mentioned in my original post, whether the site is useful to you will depend a lot on your neighborhood.

    But I still think $1.1 billion is a rich valuation for a social network based on neighborhoods, rather than (say) cities or the whole world.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: If you're over 30, you're going to have to pay more for Tinder's new sub service


    0 0

    wool socks

    Stance, a startup that sells fancy socks and soon, fancy underwear, just raised $50 million from Kleiner Perkins, August Capital, WSJ’s Lisette Chapman reports.

    Celebrities such as Will Smith and NBA star Dwyane Wade previously invested in Stance.

    The company has sold more than 15 million pairs of socks since it was founded in 2009. But it's not your typical tech startup. Instead of focusing on e-commerce, Stance is building a brand the old-school way, through partnerships with physical retail stores.

    Its items retail between $12 and $18 on Stance's website.

    "When you are building a brand, I’d argue that where you sell is as important as what you sell,” Stance co-founder and CEO Jeff Kearl told WSJ. “We worked hard and listened to the specialty retailers."

    Stance's cashmere and other luxury socks are sold in stores like Fred Segal and Nordstrom. The company has raised more than $85 million from investors.

    It's a lot of money; even Kearl admits things are feeling a little bubbly in the startup world.

    "It is a frothy market and a good time to be fundraising," he tells WSJ.

    Here are some of its patterned sock offerings:

    stance socksstance socksstance socks

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 5 Classic Men's Shoes For Work And Play


    0 0

    travis kalanick, ceo uber

    You’ve never been a CEO but might like to be one some day. But how? Nobody sees you as a CEO since you’ve never been one? I wrote this conundrum and the need to take charge of how the market define your skills in my much-read blog post on “personal branding.”  If you don’t create the message about yourself, the market will. And if you want to be a CEO one day you need the messaging to reflect that.

    The strange thing is that once you’ve been a CEO even one time the market will see always see you as a CEO but nobody really wants to give a new-comer chance.

    Of course you could start your own company. For many people that’s the right answer. As I talked about in “Is it Time to Learn or Time to Earn” – overwhelmingly the best economics go to those that start successful companies. But not everybody has the right skills to build a highly successful and valuable startup from scratch. In fact, I would argue that most people don’t.

    The decision tree for being a startup CEO begins with whether you can sustain 12-18 months of little or no salary while you define your market, do research, build v1 of your product, raise seed funding, attract your initial team, get your first customers and test whether you have initial product / market fit or enough momentum to be able to raise a large round of capital.  Even when you do sign-up initial customers it’s still not clear that your company will be a success and you’re still likely paying yourself under market rates.

    Of course I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t start a company. If you can and if you want to – you should. I’m just pointing out that it’s not for most people.

    For some aspiring to be tech entrepreneurs, I often suggest a two-step process, as I argued in this post that “The First Startup Founder You Need to Invest in Is You.” The punch line from this post was “angel yourself.”  It was meant both as a call to those writing angel checks into other people’s companies that they ought to think about putting that capital toward themselves either by becoming a startup founder or (and this was my real point) by taking an under-market salary in a company where they can learn the right skills to do it in the future.

    Sadly most  people I meet these days would rather pile $20k of savings to be seen as an angel in somebody else’s startup than they would to take a $40k pay haircut (the pre-tax equivalent to $20k) to work for the hottest startup they could and have both the stock options and the career experience and networking that comes from working with amazing peers at HotCo.

    There is a second set of career discussions I have even more frequently than my “angel yourself” advice but this type is almost never discussed publicly in blogs, which tend to emphasize only billion-dollar opportunities, 20-something technical founders and Silicon Valley elitism. This career advice is for people who are slightly older, have slightly more personal responsibilities at home and who can’t just “throw caution to the wind” due to financial obligations.

    The narrative of this discussion is something like this: I meet a 35-40-year-old founder with two kids and mortgage. He or she has worked at some very successful big technology or media companies and went to a great school. He worked at 2 startups but veered back into the corporate world because his savings got tied up in an expensive down-payment on a house in a tier-1 city where $1.5 million property buys you what you imagined $250,000 would have. They own a fixer-upper in an outskirt neighborhood in the wrong school district but they’ll make do.

    He still has the dream. He has the hunger. He wants a chance at changing life’s circumstances with building equity value that might free him and his family from the rat-race of 529 accounts, property taxes, summer-school tuitions and even spending some cash on aging parents.

    This is the narrative that isn’t talked about – but I promise you it is the more common narrative amongst even those that went to top-tier schools, got the right jobs, worked hard in their 20s but didn’t quite join Google, Facebook, Twitter at the right time. She joined Yahoo! after the glory days and earned $300,000 in stead of $3 million and after taxes that $150,000 just sustained life and some amount of future savings.

    For these people I have a solution or two.

    The most common one I recommend is a senior role in a company that is just past the Series A so they can earn some amount of reasonable family-necessary comp while still having the upside of startup. This is the 85% scenario for these people and my discussions with them is usually, “what is your minimum nut you could afford to take a risk at a startup vs. wanting the upside potential?” If the “nut” is too high I usually veer them towards later-stage opportunities (post B or C round) where the comp is higher, the exit is more likely / nearer, the upside is still nice but obviously not the same as if you joined early).

    But I also have advice for the 15% that really do want to be a startup CEO. These people wished they had done it in their 20s but didn’t make that choice. Maybe they were in their 20s in 2002 when being a startup CEO wasn’t really available to most?

    I often tell people in this scenario to focus on a VC “fixer upper.” My friend Ian Sigelow wrote about this last week and advised people not to take on this kind of job. I would urge you to read this post because for the most part he’s not wrong. For people who don’t fit my 15% narrative I would tell you that if you can avoid a fixer-upper you should. Ian’s right that it’s much harder to build that fixer upper and frankly what is also true is that working with investors who are “fatigued” on a deal is the worst.

    But.

    And there’s always a but.

    There is such a thing as a “diamond in the rough” and let’s face it – if the company was totally rocking would they be hiring you? You – who hasn’t been CEO before? You – who has some family obligations so can’t go super early and take almost no salary?

    Here’s why I think it might be perfect for you:

    1. Being the CEO of a fixer-upper gives you the skills and branding to take on a more substantial role later
    If you think about your career move as a “two-step process” then nothing sets you up to be the CEO of a better tech company than having already been CEO once. You will learn about running board meetings, setting up the ultimate financial plan, leading a team from the top, dealing with the press, raising capital, etc. If you choose to be a fixer-upper CEO for 2-3 years you’ll be ready for the big leagues.

    2. Being the CEO of a fixer-upper gives you board exposure and VC relationships that will benefit you later
    At most startups the CEO has constant exposure to VCs and other board members through constant phone calls, updates and board meetings. The gives the CEO the chance to build these important relationships to get choice relationships in the future. Being a CEO begets the network to be a CEO.

    3. Being the CEO vs. a senior executive gives you a lot more control over exit timing
    Another important piece of career advice I give to aspiring CEOs is that this gives you the ultimate decision-making abilities about an exit. In many cases a company could or should be sold early and this can reap great rewards for the executive team and early investors. But if you’re the Director or Product or VP of Marketing – you don’t get to make that decision. So it could be that a sale would yield you seven figures and you could move on to your next role but the CEO wants to “go big or go home” and sometimes go home is the outcome.

    Equally, it could be that as a mid-level employee you prefer to see the company try to get to a $1 billion exit where you could make substantial money but the CEO sells early because she is sitting on 10x the equity as you and can earn well on a $50 million exit.

    I’m not saying that being CEO is the right job for everybody. I’m not saying it’s even desirable. All I’m saying is that when you consider your life’s journey – what you’re good at and what you’re bad it – if you think you have what it takes just know that one fringe benefit is deciding whether or not to exit if that choice becomes available.

    4. Incoming into a VC fixer-upper you often have leverage over personal compensation
    In Ian’s post he rightly points out that stepping into a role with $15 million in paid-in capital that has already been spent can be a problem. This is because this “liquidation preference” gets returned to investors before you see any money – restricting the executive outcomes in mid-sized exits. But when the VC is looking for somebody willing to take on a project with a bit of hair, you actually have more leverage than you think (precisely because many people won’t take on that assignment). So you may – for example – ask for a deal in your contract that guarantees you will get a minimum of $500,000 on any sale or you may agree that your stock is exited “pari passu” with the existing liquidation preferences or that management is guaranteed a minimum bonus of $2 million on any exit (that you share with your other execs). Or maybe you just negotiate that your ownership should be 15% of the company (vs. the standard 4-6% for a hired-gun CEO).

    My main point isn’t that any of these are the right structures to negotiate for. My point is that when VCs need executive help you can often negotiate a bit on the way in for something that fixes the “fixer-upper” problems. And I’ll tell you for free – you have far more leverage to negotiate this on the way in than after you’ve joined or than at the time of exit. VCs may scoff at this advice because they don’t want a bunch of people asking for non-standard deals on the way in … but I assure you this happens more than you know.

    5. There is often money to be made in being contrarian
    I saved my main point for last. There are many companies with phenomenal IP that is truly differentiated but where the original executive team squandered their opportunity due to inability to sell, market or service customers.  There is often money to be made in finding places with under-valued IP. “Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy.” (Warren Buffett).

    At Upfront we invested in such a company. We did the early round of financing and the founding team walked when the market turned and when the situation got tough. We looked at the IP and realized it was highly differentiated / hard to replicate. So we swallowed hard and brought in a new team and wrote another check to give the company the runway to get through hard times. That company is now doing more than $50 million a year in sales, has negative churn, is growing at > 50% year-over-year and we believe will be worth more than $1 billion at exit. It will likely IPO in the coming years. The CEO that stepped into that “VC Fixer Upper” will earn handsomely as you can imagine.

    I know it’s rare, and it’s hard, but it happens.

    Summary

    For many who want to start companies joining early can be intellectually stimulating, financially lucrative and career defining. If you miss that window don’t let the market tell you that you don’t have a second act. You just have to look a little bit harder – to find a diamond in the rough.

    So if your life’s circumstances don’t allow you to follow the typical Silicon Valley, VC-backable, up-and-to-the-right-or-bust scenario but you still want to be CEO and run a company – don’t write off the possibility of being the CEO of a VC fixer upper. It could be a stepping stone. It could also be a golden ticket. And one that you get to write.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's the unlikely story of how auto-tune was created


    0 0

    luxe valetIf you're looking for a city with tons of innovative companies, look no further than San Francisco.

    We have compiled a list of 25 of the hottest startups in San Francisco. To do so, we spoke to investors, employees, journalists, and active members of the city's tech scene.

    Though our list includes some big names, it also features young startups, some of which you may not have heard of yet. 

    Parenthoods is a social network for moms and dads.

    What it is:

    Parenthoods cofounder Jeni Axline got the idea for her startup when she became a mom. "Being home alone all day, you kind of want to pull your hair out,"she told TechCrunch. Being a new parent is as lonely as it is exciting and draining. Axline cofounded Parenthoods to provide a mobile community for parents. Parenthoods, the only female-founded startup in its 2014 Y Combinator class, offers stories and advice from real parents.

    And because it is localized, Parenthoods lets parents orchestrate meetups and buy or sell things like children's clothing on its app. It's an on-the-go version of mommy blogs and parenting forums.

    Founders:

    Jeni Axline, Siobhan Quinn

    Funding:

    $1.3 million from Eugen Miropolski, David Breger, Oliver Jung, Paul Buchheit, Justin Kan, 500 Startups, Liberty City Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Y Combinator, Clara Shih, Slow Ventures

    Launch date:

    August 2014

    Website: 

    http://parenthoods.co/



    Product Hunt will help you find the next big thing in tech.

    What it is:

    Some of the most tech-prolific investment firms in New York and Silicon Valley — including Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Raptor Ventures, Betaworks, SV Angel, Y Combinator, and Techstars — use Product Hunt to find the next big thing.

    Product Hunt, which started in November 2013 as an email list, has since come into its own as a website that looks sort of like Reddit. Product Hunt similarly relies on user upvotes to show you which new products, startups, apps, and websites are the most popular that day. Product Hunt features 20 to 40 new products daily that are curated by a small number of its users. Each product gets one line to explain what it is and to provide a link to its website. Founders and other users participate in the comments, which ultimately help the founders decide whether to fix their prototype or seek out investors. 

    Founders:

    Ryan Hoover

    Funding:

    $7.5 million from Kevin Colleran, Alexis Ohanian, Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator, Vayner/RSE, Tradecraft, SV Angel, Slow Ventures, Nir Eyal, Ludlow Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Jack Altman, Google Ventures, CrunchFund, Cowboy Ventures, Brenden Mulligan, Betaworks, Abdur Chowdhury, A-Grade Investments

    Launch date:

    November 2013

    Website:

    http://www.producthunt.com/



    Use Bannerman to order a private bouncer for your events, on demand.

    What it is:

    When it comes to hiring private security for parties and events, the process can be confusing. Bannerman has stepped in to provide on-demand security guards. You just type in the date and address of your event and the number of guards you need (Bannerman suggests one guard per every 75 guests), and Bannerman will set it up for you within half an hour.

    For a rate of $35 an hour per security guard, you'll get individuals — many of whom are former military guys and gals, according to Bannerman's website — who will keep the right people in and out of your events. Bannerman also provides guards for building security and home protection. Bannerman's security guards all have valid licenses and have passed background checks administered by the FBI and the Department of Justice.

    Founders:

    Craig Martin, Curtis Lee

    Funding:

    $120,000 from Slow Ventures, Kevin Colleran, Fresh VC, Y Combinator

    Launch date:

    June 2014 

    Website: 

    http://getbannerman.com/



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    0 0

    QThe most popular, fastest-growing on-demand startups rely on people to deliver their services — but companies like Uber, Lyft, and Instacart are facing heat for hiring people as independent contractors instead of full-time employees.

    Generally, drivers and other independent contractors want full-time pay — or at least predictable pay — but employers have their sights set on maximizing profits.

    Employees are expensive for companies. According to the IRS, for common-law employees, employers "must withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid" to full-time employees. The same is not necessarily true for an independent contractor.

    Benefits are another aspect often extended to employees but not independent contractors. And employers but not independent contractors have the right to control how a worker behaves — how to dress, for example, or specific customer-interaction protocol. You have more labor protections when you're an employee.

    So, from a company mindset, it's easy to see why a fast-growing company like Uber would favor independent contractors.

    But hiring laborers as employees not only makes them happy — it gives company more control over their employees. Companies can enforce a dress code or uniform, for example, with employees, or they can dictate on-duty behavior.

    New York-based office cleaning startup Managed by Q is bucking the independent contractor trend. 

    Managed by Q provides on-demand cleaning services for offices using an iPad, which it installs for free, and also offers other services like restocking the fridge or office supplies. With on-demand and subscription services for customers — and now 150 cleaners in New York — its services have become pretty popular: They're used by other startups like Flatiron Health, Elite Daily, and Uber.

    Managed by Q hires its "operators," as it calls them, as employees, offering full-time and part-time employment with benefits and stock options. The work is flexible, and Managed by Q works with operators' schedules.

    Managed by Q also offers the opportunity to advance. Operators can be promoted to supervisors, with an increase in pay. Bonuses are also up for grabs.

    Though it's operating only in New York for now, Managed by Q — which is named after the Star Trek character and James Bond's Q Branch — has plans to expand in the future.

    Pay for entry level operators starts at $12.50 an hour plus health benefits, but some operators earn as much as $45 an hour for more skilled roles like helper and handyman.

    In short, Managed by Q is part of the minority of on-demand services that is paying attention not just to its clients, but to the people carrying out its day-to-day work. And that's what sets it apart.

    qManaged by Q was founded in December 2013 by Dan Teran and Saman Rahmanian. It was originally intended to be a home cleaning service for New York residential buildings. But after getting interest from office managers, the two decided to pivot to office cleaning.

    Since November, when it announced a $1.65 million seed round, it's doubled its number of clients. And since last year, the company has gone from having 75 operators to 150.

    When it comes to employee growth, Managed by Q says it prefers giving its current operators more hours instead of adding a ton of employees who wouldn't get as many hours as they want.

    Managed by Q knew that using contractors would prove difficult: the company couldn't get the results it wanted if it couldn't directly control the people doing the cleaning. So instead, they decided to hire their operators as employees.

    managed by qAnd its employees seem happy. Nancy Gonzalez, who has worked as an operator for Q since October, found out about the job from a friend, who's currently a technical operator for the company.

    "Being an employee rather than an independent contractor is hugely beneficial for me — it gives me a sense of job security that I would not have as a contractor,"she told Business Insider. "It creates freedom outside of my job too, as I don’t have to worry about lack of benefits, insurance, or a regular schedule."

    Jose Lara joined Managed by Q as an operator in December and was quickly promoted to a supervisor role.

    "What really drew me to the company was the energy that everyone had. Everyone was always smiling, they were all happy to see you, people you didn't know introduced themselves as if they had known you for years," he says.

    "I was encouraged to join this team once I attended orientation when they highlighted the huge opportunity for growth — they give all operators a development plan so we can see what steps would need to be taken for us to reach the next level of our structure (e.g. supervisor to community supervisor)."

    managed by qTeran has been outspoken about his beliefs regarding the on-demand economy — in a Medium post, he predicts that lawsuits against on-demand companies filed by laborers will be the "next gold rush" for law firms. He also believes that as the on-demand marketplace gets increasingly crowded, we'll see "supply-side challenges"— there's a finite amount of labor available. 

    Teran acknowledges that Managed by Q's employment model will be hard to scale as the company grows, but his company's approach to labor — providing benefits and reliable pay to employees — is novel in the on-demand economy, and is currently embraced by only a handful of early-stage, on-demand startups, including Alfred Club, Flycleaners, and Parcel.

    On-demand startups dragging their feet about classifying their laborers as employees should look at Managed by Q as an example: The company has shown that it's at least possible to create a popular on-demand service that makes both the employees and the clientele happy.

    SEE ALSO: These are the 25 hottest startups in San Francisco

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 6 little-known Excel shortcuts that will impress your boss


    0 0

    Douglas Head c Ron Strathdee (20)

    The Isle of Man, a tiny, Celtic island between the west coast of England and Northern Ireland, is soon to pass legislation that its government hopes will help it become a true paradise for digital currencies. The island will be the first place in the world to pass a "regulatory framework" for the alternative payment method.

    The legal framework sets legislation in place for FinTech enterprises to operate more freely and securely. It creates a government jurisdiction for the industry, which means it has a practical responsibility and authority on how the marketplace operates.The island is known for actively promoting the use of the online currency, and is favoured by startups.

    Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to process transactions, and there's no central bank or authority. Instead, it's managed by a network maintained by the users. This decentralisation creates volatility: In January, Bitcoin crashed by nearly 30%. It crashed even harder in 2014, which spooked UK banks, causing them to stop working with the digital currency industry on the Island.

    Now, the island's government has come up with a stronger framework to give more support to digital currencies in such situations.

    The Isle of Man is a 30-mile long island off the coast of north-west England with a population of around 85,000. Yet it has more than 170 startups, 20 of which are based around currency; is energy self-sufficient; and has a GDP of £4 billion.

    Digital companies make up 20% of that GDP.

    Indeed, the Isle of Man has established itself as a key player in the world of FinTech. It's a surreal juxtaposition: Although it's a small, largely-rural landscape, Bitcoin has taken off considerably. You're likely to go into a coffee shop or local pub and find someone paying for a flat white or a pint of bitter with Bitcoin. Even a taxi firm there accepts the digital currency.

    It's a world away from the urban bustle of the London tech hub Shoreditch and Silicon Roundabout — but the same high-tech futurism is there.

    Peter GreenhillHead of e-commerce for the Isle of Man, Peter Greenhill, tells Business Insider that the aim is to be the most attractive place in the world for cryptocurrency companies to work from. Greenhill explains that the island's parliament (the longest serving in the world, he says), will safeguard businesses from online crime through its Proceeds of Crime Act 2010.

    It's also "is a hotbed for tech startups" due to its tax advantages — there's zero corporation tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, and a low personal tax.

    Greenhill says the Isle of Man offers "friendly but firm legislation" for digital currency startups. It is essentially an offshore haven: There's no corporate income tax. (Banking business and land and property companies pay 10%.)

    "We have the regulations and infrastructure in place to become a world leader in digital currencies," Greenhill tells Business Insider. "We already have companies coming in and setting up. We see this as the future and we want to be at the centre of development in this area."

    By 2020, Greenhill expects the industry to grow by 23%. He touts the sector to see huge economic gains from which the Isle of Man can benefit. "FinTech is growing and we're a great landscape for development."

    Greenhill says that leading software engineers go to the island to make use of the low taxes. He says that its attraction is bolstered further because of a cool climate, which helps with running high-power data centres. It has ultra-fast broadband services, and there's also a "tight FinTech community" with common goals to see the sector strengthen.

    Niabyl.JPG

    "It's about offering the right environment to developers. We've got more than 25 digital currency businesses based on the island" Greenhill adds. "We're a microcosm of the UK and other countries — a testing site and active experimentation lab for new technologies."

    The Isle of Man isn't just about digital currencies, though. It's a favourite of telecoms companies and was also a major part of introducing the 3G network for mobiles. It will soon be the first place on earth to trial 5G services and also boasts a big eSports community.

    The island is going to launch the "ICT University" at the end of 2015 with tech company partners HP and Huawei. The facility will be open to up to 500 students and will act as an "incubator" for talent. It will work alongside UK universities and plans are being put in place to link with Canary Wharf finance/tech accelerator Level39 as an offshore partner.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Samsung has designed a $39,000 high-tech doghouse with a treadmill and hot tub


    0 0

    Kimberly Bryant

    In February, Y Combinator hosted its second annual Female Founders Conference. Women who have helped found companies that Y Combinator has backed were invited to come and speak about their experiences founding a startup.

    After the conference, Gregory Koberger, the founder of developer hub ReadMe.io and Kim Pham, who's currently Head of Platform for the Ireland-based VC firm Frontline Ventures, created a book of elaborate doodle notes based on the advice of each founder who spoke at YC's event.

    We've compiled those notes of advice here. 

    Danielle Morrill, CEO and cofounder of startup intelligence platform Mattermark



    Olga Vidisheva, founder and CEO of e-commerce website Shoptiques



    Tracy Young, cofounder of construction app PlanGrid



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    0 0

    Douglas Head c Ron Strathdee (20)

    The Isle of Man, a tiny, Celtic island between the west coast of England and Northern Ireland, is soon to pass legislation that its government hopes will help it become a true paradise for digital currencies. The island will be the first place in the world to pass a "regulatory framework" for the alternative payment method.

    The legal framework sets legislation in place for FinTech enterprises to operate more freely and securely. It creates a government jurisdiction for the industry, which means it has a practical responsibility and authority on how the marketplace operates. The island is known for actively promoting the use of the online currency, and is favoured by startups.

    Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to process transactions, and there's no central bank or authority. Instead, it's managed by a network maintained by the users. This decentralisation creates volatility: In January, Bitcoin crashed by nearly 30%. It crashed even harder in 2014, which spooked UK banks, causing them to stop working with the digital currency industry on the Island.

    Now, the island's government has come up with a stronger framework to give more support to digital currencies in such situations.

    The Isle of Man is a 30-mile long island off the coast of north-west England with a population of around 85,000. Yet it has more than 170 startups, 20 of which are based around currency; is energy self-sufficient; and has a GDP of £4 billion.

    Digital companies make up 20% of that GDP.

    Indeed, the Isle of Man has established itself as a key player in the world of FinTech. It's a surreal juxtaposition: Although it's a small, largely-rural landscape, Bitcoin has taken off considerably. You're likely to go into a coffee shop or local pub and find someone paying for a flat white or a pint of bitter with Bitcoin. Even a taxi firm there accepts the digital currency.

    It's a world away from the urban bustle of the London tech hub Shoreditch and Silicon Roundabout — but the same high-tech futurism is there.

    Peter GreenhillHead of e-commerce for the Isle of Man, Peter Greenhill, tells Business Insider that the aim is to be the most attractive place in the world for cryptocurrency companies to work from. Greenhill explains that the island's parliament (the longest serving in the world, he says), also safeguards businesses from online crime through its Proceeds of Crime Act 2010.

    It's also "is a hotbed for tech startups" due to its tax advantages — there's zero corporation tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, and a low personal tax.

    Greenhill says the Isle of Man offers "friendly but firm legislation" for digital currency startups. It is essentially an offshore haven.

    "We have the regulations and infrastructure in place to become a world leader in digital currencies," Greenhill tells Business Insider. "We already have companies coming in and setting up. We see this as the future and we want to be at the centre of development in this area."

    By 2020, Greenhill expects the industry to grow by 23%. He touts the sector to see huge economic gains from which the Isle of Man can benefit. "FinTech is growing and we're a great landscape for development."

    Greenhill says that leading software engineers go to the island to make use of the low taxes. He says that its attraction is bolstered further because of a cool climate, which helps with running high-power data centres. It has ultra-fast broadband services, and there's also a "tight FinTech community" with common goals to see the sector strengthen.

    Niabyl.JPG

    "It's about offering the right environment to developers. We've got more than 25 digital currency businesses based on the island" Greenhill adds. "We're a microcosm of the UK and other countries — a testing site and active experimentation lab for new technologies."

    The Isle of Man isn't just about digital currencies, though. It's a favourite of telecoms companies and was also a major part of introducing the 3G network for mobiles. It will soon be the first place on earth to trial 5G services and also boasts a big eSports community.

    The island is going to launch the "ICT University" at the end of 2015 with tech company partners HP and Huawei. The facility will be open to up to 500 students and will act as an "incubator" for talent. It will work alongside UK universities and plans are being put in place to link with Canary Wharf finance/tech accelerator Level39 as an offshore partner.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Samsung has designed a $39,000 high-tech doghouse with a treadmill and hot tub


    0 0

    SXSW

    At a panel held by ff Venture Capital Sunday afternoon at mega-conference SXSW, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels made a whole crowd of startup people burst into laughter. 

    He was moderating a panel about scaling a startup with Shane Snow, chief creative officer of Contently, Rami Essaid, CEO Distil Networks, Trevor Coleman, CPO of Interaxon, and Jordan Kretchmer, CEO of Livefyre. When he started asking Krechmer about his hiring practices, the fun began: 

    "How much time do you spent time on hiring?" Vogels asked. "At Amazon, of course, we're a 20 year-old startup by now —"

    "Uh... startup?" Kretchmer interrupted.

    The crowd burst into laughter. Vogels stuck with his description:

    "Ehh, startup," he said over the crowd, "We're still a startup!

    "Awww, that's really cute," Kretchmer fired back in a faux-sweet voice. 

    Vogels paused as the crowd and the panel participants continued to giggle.

    "Mmmhh, that threw me off guard a bit," he said finally, shaking his head.

    Kretchmer wasn't done:

    "Yeah," he said with a laugh, "There's a new class of startup called 'IPO'd and Worth Billions.'"

    "It's not just about the size!" Vogel's protested. "It's.. whatever. Moving on."

    Jokes aside, Vogels and Kretchmer highlighted what actually is an interesting question: When do you stop calling a company a startup? When it reaches a certain size? Gets a certain amount of funding? When it goes public?

    For example, can we still call Uber, a company now valued at more than $41 billion, a startup? 

    Even though Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' mantra is "It's Day One," a mentality probably isn't quite enough to argue startup status. For the record, the company was founded in 1994, went public in 1997, and made $29.33 billion in revenue last quarter. 

    SEE ALSO: I just found the perfect solution to standing desk fatigue at SXSW

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This 9-year-old makes $1 million a year opening toys


    0 0

    Unicorn mask

    In a SXSW keynote on Sunday, investor Bill Gurley warned that Silicon Valley's golden age could soon be over — and that some of today's biggest startups could go down with it.

    Gurley is a prominent investor known for investments in Uber and Snapchat. 

    But Gurley is also known for his pessimistic outlook on the tech industry. He warned during a talk at SXSW that "a complete absence of fear" in Silicon Valley had led venture-capital firms to take big risks on tech companies.

    Gurley went on to say that Silicon Valley's optimism could lead to the death of so-called "unicorn" companies — startups that reach a $1 billion valuation before their IPO. Those companies could face a turn in the market in the near future. "I do think you'll see some dead unicorns this year," Gurley said.

    Right now, becoming a $1 billion "unicorn" is a badge of honor for any startup. Work messaging tool Slack famously set its sights on becoming a unicorn, with founder Stewart Butterfield telling Fortune that it was the company's aim: "Yes, it’s arbitrary because it’s a big round number. It does make a difference psychologically. One billion is better than $800 million because it’s the psychological threshold for potential customers, employees, and the press."

    Fortune devoted its February cover story to tech unicorns, pointing out that since the term was coined back in 2013, the number of unicorns has grown from 39 to more than 80. The rise of unicorns is a good indicator of the rise in available venture capital for startups, and shows how prepared investors are to fund young companies.

    The number of tech unicorns is thought to have doubled in the past 12 months, with data from Digi-Capital showing that there are now more than ever before. In 2014 there were 68 unicorns in mobile internet companies alone, with a total value of around $261 billion.

    Mobile internet billions valuation pyramid digi capital

    Elsewhere in the SXSW talk, Gurley discussed whether he thought driverless cars were going to change the world. He said he thought driverless cars were often used by large tech companies to distract journalists and that driverless cars were not yet technologically feasible.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The New Mercedes Driverless Car Even Has The Driver's Seat Facing Away From The Road


    0 0

    working from home beanbag

    As Wall Street cuts jobs and regulation tightens, bankers are leaving the industry for another emerging, but less lucrative option – financial tech startups.

    According to a Bloomberg article Sunday, the world of fintech has become more appealing to bankers as they look for a change in career and technology advances in finance.

    Although the switch means going from making high figure salaries to nothing, bankers told the publication that the potential impact and opportunity in their work was worth the cost.

    The article cites data showing that the biggest banks in the U.S. and U.K. have cut headcount by 350,000 since 2008. Bond brokering jobs have also decreased by 212,000 since then.

    In contrast, tech positions such as software development and cybersecurity are plentiful at more than 500,000 openings. McKinsey & Company data also counts more than 12,000 startups in banking right now.

    Slightly more than half of employees surveyed at European banks were contemplating a job change this year. One employee at an executive search firm told Bloomberg he's seen a notable uptick in interest in the past five years.

    "Seven out of ten conversations I have with investment bankers now end with them asking me to keep them in mind for jobs in technology," Eric Anderson from Egon Zehnder International told Bloomberg.

    Read the full story at Bloomberg >>

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: If you're not using this data-searching trick in Excel, you're wasting lots of time


    0 0

    There used to be a time when a $1 billion valuation was considered a massive success for tech startups. Then that threshold rose to $5 billion.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This 9-year-old makes $1 million a year opening toys


    0 0

    SXSW

    It's hard to get noticed at South by Southwest, a technology, music and film conference that attracts tens of thousands of people every March in Austin, Texas.

    But a few companies did such crazy things, they stood out.

    Here are some of the wackiest and coolest promotions we saw last weekend in Austin.

    We spotted a whole crew of people from the referral company Roi Koi walking around with giant, light-up globes on their heads.



    HootSuite packed people into a giant owl bike-mobile to ride around Austin while drinking beer.



    A book-finding app called Squirl had these big guys stationed around the main drag.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    0 0

    Jennifer Hyman

    Jennifer Hyman, the CEO of ecommerce company Rent the Runway, thinks that FedEx and UPS need to be completely disrupted.

    Her company lets users rent and return designer dresses instead of buying them. The site is valued around $400 million and was projected to book about $48 million in yearly revenue in 2014.

    But Hyman says her biggest operating cost, by far, was shipping, even though she gets great discounts for volume. 

    "The delivery network needs to be completely ripped up and re-created in order for any ecommerce business to have sustainable profit margins over time," she said at a panel at Austin tech conference South by Southwest last weekend. "Everyone always thinks shipping costs will go down every year, but in fact Fed-Ex and UPS raise their rates every year."

    Hyman then applauded several companies popping up in Silicon Valley that are trying to "disrupt delivery," like Shyp, Postmates, and Parcel. There's also DoorDash, a startup that delivers food but is ultimately focused on its logistical delivery infrastructure, the New York-based WunWun, which delivers small orders of local goods for free, and Instacart, which is also trying to make fast, cheap deliveries viable. Big players like Google, Amazon, Uber are also experimenting with their own delivery models. Amazon in particular has reportedly been building its own delivery fleet to take on UPS.  

    "Let's have them all be successful, because we need to put UPS and FedEx out of business," she says. "We really do. If you want to start a shipping business, I will support you. The only way for ecommerce growth to be economically viable is if the delivery network changes." 

    Hyman founded Rent the Runway in 2009 and it has since swelled to 5 million shoppers. It has raised about $114 million in funding total, including a $60 million Series D round at  valuation between $400 - $600 million, according to Forbes. 

    SEE ALSO: Amazon is hiring so many people that interviews take up more than 30% of many engineers' time

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This 9-year-old makes $1 million a year opening toys


older | 1 | .... | 54 | 55 | (Page 56) | 57 | 58 | .... | 135 | newer