NYC Startup Funding June Recap

NYC startups raised $700 million in June, thanks in particular to some late stage investments. (These numbers do not include companies that strictly focus on biotech and real estate.

Gemi $16 Million  The company has strong roots in Italian design, secured $16 million in Series C funding. The investment was announced on June 20th, and included lead investors Hurbert Burda, Forerunner Ventures, Principal Investments, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst.

 

Augury $17 Million This data analytics company specializes in maintenance strategies to help companies lower their carbon footprint. Augury obtained $17 million in Series B funding on June 19th. Some of the main investors in the round included Eclipse, Hartford Steam Boiler, and Munich Re/HSB Ventures.  

 

Bowery Farming Inc $20 Million.-Built on a bedrock commitment to grow only the purest,  most organic food, Bowery Farming creates local indoor farms that grown pesticide-free produce. The company raised an impressive $20 million in a Series A round which included key investors GGV Capital and General Catalyst. The funding was announced on June 14th.

 

Untuckit $30 MillionWhile the concept behind this high-end dress shirt company might seem simple (elegant men’s shirts that are designed not to be tucked in,) the company is thriving in the difficult clothing retail sector. Untuckit announced on June 5th that the company raised a $30 million June round, lead by Kleiner Perkins.

 

FuboTV $30 Million-After an earlier $30 million raise, the local sports streaming service FuboTV, which lets customers livestream and record games and matches from the MLB, NASCAR and UFC, raised $55 million in Series C funding. The June 19th announcement included investors 21st Century Fox, SkySports, and Northzone.

 

Cadre $65 Million-This financial services and real estate company set the tone early in June by announcing $65 million in Series C funding. The announcement came on June 6th, and included lead investors Andreessen Horowitz, Goldman Sachs, Thrive Capital, Ford Foundation, and General Catalyst.

ClassPass $70 Million- The exercise and dance class company offers an array of pass options for fitness classes in over 30 cities worldwide, and connects members to over 8,000 studios in New York alone. The company raised $70 million in Series C funding in June, with lead investors Temasek Holdings, M13, GV, CRV, Fifth Wall, and General Catalyst.

 

Freshly $77 Million- As a meal preparation company, Freshly delivers high-quality meals with elevated ingredients that can be ready in three minutes. The company offers various meal plans and vows to make the world eat healthy and feel better. They also had a banner month of June, raising $77 million in Series C funding that was announced on June 20th.  Leading the round were Nestle, White Star Capital, Highland Capital Partners, and Insight Venture Partners.

 

Casper $170 Million- The company offers pressure-relieving memory foam mattresses, and has expanded its line to include intricately designed pillows and sheets. Raising an astonishing $170 million this month, Casper secured Series C funding through a group of investors that included Target, Melo7 Tech Partners, NVP, New Enterprise Associates, and a slew of celebrity investors such as Kevin Spacey, Andre Iguodala, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Kyrie Irving, and Shaun White. The announcement for the funding came on June 18th.

 

By Brendan Fitzgibbons


100 Inspirational Quotes For Entrepreneurs

2. Dream audaciously. Have the courage to fail forward. Act with urgency. – Phil Knight

3. You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can and be one of the exceptions. –Steve Case

4. To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe- Anatole France

5. It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.- Theodore Roosevelt

5. Ideas are easy, implementation is hard- Guy Kawasaki

6.Never do things others can do and will do if there are things others cannot do or will not do. - Amelia Earhart

7. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. –Steve Jobs

8. Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.
–Biz Stone, Twitter cofounder

9.A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. –Albert Einstein

10. I hate how many people think, “glass half-empty” when their glass is really four-fifths full. I’m grateful when I have one drop in the glass because I know exactly what to do with it. -Gary Vaynerchuk

11. I think if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to dream big and then dream bigger. –Howard Schultz, Starbucks executive chairman.

12. If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. –Kevin Systrom, Instagram cofounder

13. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. –Mark Twain

14. Here's how I'm going to beat you. I'm going to outwork you. That's it. That's all there is to it. -Pat Summitt

15. What is not started today is never finished tomorrow. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

16. Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it. –Mark Cuban

17. It’s just a matter of the pieces that you have around you and what you can do to elevate everybody else. –Kobe Bryant

18. If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it’s within your reach. And it’ll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build. –Steve Wozniak

19. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is. –H. Jackson Brown

20. Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good. -Malcolm Gladwell

21 If you take one typewriter and build 100, you’ve made horizontal progress. If you have a typewriter and build a word processor, you have made vertical progress.- Peter Thiel

22. You Can't just keep doing what works one time, everything around you is changing. To succeed stay in front of change.- Sam Walton

23. I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it. –Pablo Picasso

24. Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. –Stephen King

25. If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.- Malcolm Gladwell

26. Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion. – Jack Welch

27. Being a good listener is absolutely critical to being a good leader; you have to listen to the people who are on the front line. - Richard Branson

28. High expectations are the key to everything. –Sam Walton, Walmart founder

29. There is no perfect fit when you are looking for the next big thing to do. –Sheryl Sandberg

30. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new.- Bob Parsons, Godaddy Founder

31. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. –John Quincy Adams

32. Opportunities—the good ones—they’re messy and confusing and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you. –Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO

33. When you cease to dream, you cease to live. –Malcolm Forbes

34. All Rhodes Scholars had a great future in their past- Peter Thiel

35. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. –Aristotle

36. Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds. –Larry Bird

37. The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake. –Meister Eckhart

39. It only seems impossible until it’s done. –Nelson Mandela

40. Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. –Jack Kerouac

41. Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. –Frank Zappa

42. Avoiding mistakes costs more than making them. –Omer Shai

43.There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.- Marianne Williamson

44. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. –Yogi Berra

45. We led with our conviction rather than rational, because rational said it was impossible. –Daniel Ek, Spotify CEO and cofounder

46. When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. –Elon Musk

47.We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.- Queen Elizabeth

48. A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality. –John Lennon, musician

49. It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. –Leonardo da Vinci

50.The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. - Amelia Earhart

51. If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.
–Michelangelo

52. Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. –John Wayne

53. Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. –F. Scott Fitzgerald,

54. It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane. –Charles Lindbergh

55. Take time to deliberate. But when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in. –Andrew Jackson, U.S. president

56. Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough- Oprah Winfrey

57. Culture drives great results. – Jack Welch

58. Success depends almost entirely on how effectively you learn to manage the game's two ultimate adversaries: the course and yourself. –Jack Nicklaus

59. Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. –Thomas Jefferson

60. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. - Helen Keller

61. Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable. –Coco Chanel

62. People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe. –Simon Sinek

63. If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. –Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn cofounder

64. The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. –Henry Kissinger

65. A company shouldn’t be addicted to being shiny because being shiny doesn’t last. –Jeff Bezos

66. If everything is under control, you’re not going fast enough. –Mario Andretti

67. To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. –Elbert Hubbard

68. Everyone has an idea. But it’s taking those first steps towards turning that idea into a reality that are always the toughest. –Daymond John

69. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do. –Eleanor Roosevelt

70. If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. - Martin Luther King

71. I love it when people doubt me. It makes me work harder to prove them wrong. –Derek Jeter

72. From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached. –Franz Kafka

73. Success is more permanent when you achieve it without destroying your principles. –Walter Cronkite

74. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. –Benjamin Franklin,

75. The best revenge is massive success. –Frank Sinatra

76. If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.
–James Cameron

77. Great ideas often receive violent opposition from mediocre minds. –Albert Einstein

78. Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small. –Tim Ferriss

79. If Google teaches you anything, it’s that small ideas can be big. –Ben Silbermann, Pinterest cofounder

80. If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. –John Wooden

81. In business, you're the chief salesman. Create a sense of demand, rather than waiting to have demand. Barbara Corcoron

82. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. –Warren Buffett

83. I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. –Bruce Lee

84. Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that. But the really great make you feel that you too can become great. –Mark Twain

85. We are really competing against ourselves. We have no control over how other people perform. –Pete Cashmore, Mashable founder

86. Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who never achieved much. –Joan Collins

87. You are what you think. So just think big, believe big, act big, work big, give big, forgive big, laugh big, love big, and live big. –Andrew Carnegie

88. I’ve learned that mistakes can often be as good a teacher as success. –Jack Welch

89. If you’re passionate about something and you work hard, then I think you will be successful. –Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder

90. There’s lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: It’s to change the world. –Phil Libin, former Evernote CEO

91. It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. –Babe Ruth

92. Do not be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again. –Richard Branson

93. I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. –Thomas Edison,

94. If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business. –Ray Kroc

95. If you can dream it, you can do it. –Walt Disney

96. I can accept failure—everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. –Michael Jordan

97. What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world. –Simon Sinek

98. Success in a career is no longer a simple ascension on a path of steps. You need to climb sideways and sometimes down; sometimes you need to swing and jump from one set of bars to the next. –Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn cofounder

99. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky

100. Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
–Calvin Coolidge

 

 

Written By Josh Bobrowsky Cofounder & CEO


What is CoWorking

Coworking by definition is a physical space where many companies can work together. The companies benefit from sharing office amenities such as conference rooms, bathrooms, printers, front desk staff, and internet access and by being a part of a community.

According to researchers at the Harvard Business Review:

There seems to be something special about coworking spaces. As researchers who have, for years, studied how employees thrive, we were surprised to discover that people who belong to them report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This is at least a point higher than the average for employees who do their jobs in regular offices, and something so unheard of that we had to look at the data again.

The article went on to elaborate why their researchers found such high levels of happiness and satisfaction in coworking spaces:

Unlike a traditional office, coworking spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects. Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger. Our respondents were given the opportunity to frequently describe what they do, which can make what they do seem more interesting and distinctive.

Each coworking space will typically have a unique feel both physically in design and layout and as a community.

Types of CoWorking Options

Open Coworking Space

In coworking facilities, there are typically 3 options for how members can work. Some coworking spaces offer only 1 or 2 of the following types while others offer all 3.

Hot Desk or Lounge membership- This allows access to open areas, and often conference rooms. You are not assigned a specific place to work but you come in, find an open seat and are able to get to work. With this membership, you have the benefits of a professional work environment but do not typically have storage space to keep your computer overnight. Think of it like going into a library but with better professional amenities.

Dedicated Desk- This is pretty much what it sounds like, you have your own private desk, you often have a place you can leave your items overnight but you do not have your own private office. This is a great option for anyone who doesn't need a ton of privacy and is working by themselves

Private offices- A private office offers the privacy of an office with the benifits of being located in a coworking space. A bit of the best of both worlds

What You Should Look For in a Coworking Space

Coworking can take on many forms, from an open layout, to private offices, to carefully curated events that make a real sense of community.


A good coworking space provides much more than real estate, it creates an environment for businesses to thrive.

A great coworking space creates a place for people to find purpose in their work.

Why Businesses Choose Coworking

There are many reasons businesses choose coworking, here a few of the main reasons

1. Community and Experience- Where people work can affect the quality of their work. Having a great environment can help a business's work product as well as helping to recruit high-quality future talent.

Being a part of a coworking environment you also get the benefits of the other businesses in your space. For example, maybe you need a lawyer and there happens to be a small law firm working in the same space. This is a win win, the lawyer gets more business and you get the services you need.

2. Money- A business can save a huge amount of money by choosing a coworking space over a traditional office. In New York City, 10 person startup can easily spend well over $150,000 just to get set up with a lease and furnishings. The same company could spend less than $75,000 for a coworking space and also a lot less time and energy setting up the real estate. Below I break down the cost comparison of a 10 person office in NYC.

Private Office Costs 10 Person Office NYC First 12 months

  • Rent- $70,000- 12 months- According to Cushman Wakefield average Manhattan office rents are over $70 per square foot
  • Security Deposit- $70,000- Standard 12 month security deposit
  • Construction Buildout- $10,000-$30,000
  • Furniture- $$10,000-30,000+ Varies by office
  • Printers, Network, Wifi- $$10,000-
  • Typical Commitment Length- 3 years+
  • Ability To Change Office Size- No
  • Total- $160,000-$200,000

Coworking Costs

  • Rent- $65,000
  • Security Deposit- $10,000
  • Construction Buildout- $0
  • Furniture- Provided in rent
  • Printers, Network, Wifi- Included in rent
  • Typical Commitment Length- Month-to-Month
  • Ability to Change Office Size- Yes
  • Total- $75,000

3. Flexibility- As a business grows or shrinks they can change office size to accommodate their changing company. Coworking spaces can have companies ranging in size from 1 person to over 100 people.

Other Amenities

Every coworking space is a bit different but here are a few amenities you can find at most coworking spaces

  • Wifi & Internet (hopefully fast)
  • Coffee
  • Conference Rooms
  • Mail Services
  • Community Manager/ Reception
  • Community Events

Conclusion

Coworking is changing the way people work. While coworking may not be the right fit for every business. It is an excellent way of working that offers great options for many companies to build, grow and thrive.

Written by Josh Bobrowsky CoFounder & CEO of Ignitia Office


Top Startup Accelerators- What It Takes To Get In

Paul Graham Y Combinator- Photo By Kevin Hale

No matter how brilliant or well educated you are, if you’re a first time startup founder, you need all the help you can get. That means mentors for important introductions and to help you avoid making rookie mistakes. And more often than not, you’re also going to need money. Startup accelerator programs provide both: access to mentors, and investors. The more prestigious the accelerator, the better connected the mentors and the greater the access to investors with deep pockets.

Among the most competitive tech startup accelerators in the U.S. are Y Combinator and TechStars, which are the two I’m going to focus on. But a number of others, including AngelPad, 500 Startups and MuckerLab appear on this 2017 Forbes list of top accelerator programs.

Y Combinator

What you get if you’re accepted:

  • $120,000 in exchange for 7% equity.
  • Exposure to top investors and mentors.
  • Joining a network of thousands of accomplished and well-connected entrepreneurs.

How the program works:

Established in 2005, Y Combinator runs two three-month cycles (January to March and June to August) per year and requires that accepted founders move to the San Francisco Bay Area for those three months to work intensively there to prepare for Demo Day, where founders present their company before an array of substantial investors. Investors that have invested in hugely successful Y Combinator alumni

companies like Dropbox, Airbnb and Reddit. A significant component of the program are private weekly dinners where founders get a chance to share what they’ve been working on and then listen luminary startup founders, like Marc Zuckerberg, address them in an intimate, no-press-allowed setting.

What they’re looking for:

Admission to Y Combinator is a two-step process that includes an online application and, if you move on, an in-person interview at the Y Combinator office in Mountain View, CA. The Y Combinator people are pretty clear on their website that they’re looking for clarity in your Y Combinator application. Clarity on what your company does. No jargon. No broad generalizations like “We are going to transform the relationship between individuals and information.” A simple, concise sentence in response to the very first question, which is “What is your company going to make?” They want the cleanest version of your elevator pitch. There, I just used jargon – “elevator pitch.” I wouldn’t have gotten in.

Y Combinator is also looking for clarity in the description of the founding team, as in citing specific accomplishments of the founders, rather than using sweeping sentences like “Max is an extremely talented engineer who also has a passion for food.”

TechStars

What you get if you’re accepted:

  • $100,000 convertible note and $20,000 in exchange for 6% common stock.
  • Exposure to top investors and mentors.
  • Joining a network of thousands of accomplished and well-connected entrepreneurs.
  • Equity Back Guarantee – as of 2015, at the end of the three-month program, you will have 3 business days to lower or eliminate TechStars’ equity position in your company if you are not satisfied with the value of TechStars.

How the program works:

The program was started in 2006 in Boulder, CO. One of the co-founders is Brad Feld, a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and veteran startup community builder with a great blog (Feld Thoughts). Like Y Combinator, TechStars is also three months long and includes mentors helping founders to examine and challenge their business ideas in preparation for a Demo Day in front major investors. Since opening in Boulder, it has expanded internationally and now operates in more than 15 cities in seven countries. It has invested more than $3.5 billion and it counts Uber as one of it graduate companies.

What they’re looking for:

TechStars looks for early-stage companies whose founders are open to making dramatic changes to their business. Not founders who are just open to “pivoting,” but to potentially reinventing their business.

“If you are in heads down product mode, coming into TechStars is a disaster because all we do is ask you to put your head out and share and iterate your thoughts,” said David Tisch, startup investor and co-founder of TechStars New York City.

Michael DeFranco

Michael DeFranco, co-founder and CEO of Lua Technologies, which powers HIPPA-compliant text messaging for healthcare clients, was accepted into the TechStars New York City class of Spring 2012. He and his company are proof of how the TechStars program is meant to challenge founders’ ideas and have them re-consider everything about their business.

DeFranco said he and his founding team entered TechStars pitching their product to be used primarily for entertainment production. But the program directors pushed them to start testing their product in different verticals and immediately introduced them to the right people.

“That kind of fast action eventually led us down the healthcare path we are currently on,” DeFranco said.

As for their demo day pitch: “Our demo day pitch evolved every day of the program until we were pitching a completely different version by the end, all with the same product - just tweaking the wording. That kind of thinking has gotten us to where we are today.”

Warm Introductions Are Helpful

Laksman Veeravag, a web developer and writer who has interviewed more than 50 startup founders admitted to top accelerators (see his ebook AcceleratorX), said that founders some times overlook the significance of a warm introduction to a partner at the accelerator they’re applying to.

“While many entrepreneurs I've interviewed succeeded by just applying cold, it can make a huge difference to have or build a relationship with someone connected to the accelerator you're applying to,” Veeravag said.

Amanda Peyton, whose former company, MessageParty, was accepted to Y Combinator, agrees.

In Peyton’s blog post from several years ago, she wrote:

“By far the most valuable thing you can do for your application is talk to other YC founders. There are [more than one thousand] alums at this point. If you cannot track down one to chat with you, you should probably reconsider doing a startup. YC founders are among the most accessible group out there – you just have to ask. [And] Crunchbase can be really useful.”

Timing Matters

While the majority of accelerators will say that the founding team is the most important factor in deciding which startups to accept, Veeravag said that most of the accepted founders he interviewed felt that having expertise, a strong product, and traction is why they got in.

CoFounders of Burrow

Stephen Kuhl, co-founder of Burrow, which sells easy-to-assemble sofas online, was accepted into Y Combinator’s class of Summer 2016, along with his co-founder Kabeer Chopra.

Kuhl said he thinks that Y Combinator partners are excellent at identifying companies that provide products or services that support larger trends.

“eCommerce is growing, especially for furniture,” Kuhl said. “And modern consumers are moving more frequently, renting longer, and putting off buying their permanent home longer. Mattresses were the last of two big

furniture items that hadn’t been optimized for the modern consumer.”

Maybe Kuhl is just being modest, but he believes that the nature of their business played a big role in getting selected.

“Y Combinator believed in us to take care of couches,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

Written By Todd Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


12 Blogs Every Entrepreneur Should Read

The best people in business are lifelong learners of their trade. Below are a few of the best blogs that are organized by category. The numbers are not meant to serve as a ranking of order as they are all great resources for continued education in business.

Large Publications

1. The Wall Street Journal- It’s a pay subscription service but for keeping up with news and business it is some of the best writing on the web for general business and news.

2. Harvard Business Review- HBR is a great blog filled with excellent insight on business and quick reads. A well-known publication that lives up to its namesake.

Startup & VC Advice

3. Y-Combinator Blog Y Combinator is one of the top incubators on the planet. In addition to running one of the top incubators in the world, their blog is top notch. The articles are well written and the bring in amazing guest bloggers who are leaders of industry.

 

a16z topic matrix

 

4. A16Z- Created and run by Andreesen Horowotiz, one of the most prestigious venture capital firms. The site focuses on business and startups and includes excellent organization of blog posts by topics. The website is broken down into 3 categories Advice & How To, Tech Topics, Podcasts.

5. Both Sides of the Table- In their own words: "Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California." As the name implies the blog gives perspective from the VC and Entrepreneur side of business, and fundraising.

6. Cruncbase- Crunchbase is one of the best resources to research recent funding deals. While this may not be a blog in a traditional sense of written articles by business leaders it is a great tool to keep up with VC funding.

7. 500 Startups Blog, - Similar to Y-Combinator blog, 500 startups is a company that has invested in over 1600 startups and provides a wide range of advice on business and startups throughout their blog. In their own words about their program

Have your act together? We invest $100-250K on market terms and charge a $25-50k fee depending on geography for participation in the 500 Series A Program.

You’ll get all the perks of being in 500 too – like access to our vast network of investors, partners and founders.

8. Forentrepreneurs.com - Inc Magazine ranks this as the number one blog for entrepreneurs and it ranks as number 2 on Forbes list of best 100 websites for Entrepreneurs. What makes this blog excellent is the in-depth advice from David Skok. David is a lifelong businessman turned VC, who focuses his advice on business, marketing and startups.

Marketing

9. OnStartups- Run by the founder of Hubspot this is an excellent blog focused on marketing and sales online. An excellent resource for marketing, SAAS and business in general.

10. Rand Fishkin's Blog, Rand is one of the top names in marketing and SEO. Part of the MOZ website (formerly SEO MOZ). This is a great resource for learning expert level SEO tactics and keeping up with the constant changes of how algorithms work. I will also say that I would highly recommend Moz.com  itself as well.

11. Canva Design School- Canva Design School is a daily blog that focuses on design. This is a great resource for branding, marketing, and building beuatfiul pitch decks. The Canva product itself is an excellent product to use that makes easy work out of graphic design. Guy Kawasaki currently serves as the company's Chief Evangelist.

 

Inspiration

12. Ted Talks- Some of the most amazing and inspirational presentations. Although many of the presentations are not focused on business, this is an amazing site for great content and inspiration. Video Blog.

 

 


Top 6 Industries That Will Be Disrupted Next

It is an amazing time for change. In the past few years, we have seen massive disruption across many industries.  According to The New York Post taxi medallions have dropped 80% in value in just 3 years due to ride sharing apps.  Airbnb emerges as the largest hotel provider in the world and shakes up an entire industry and you can buy just about anything from the comfort of your home thanks to Amazon.

If you want to find what industries are next, look to where things are unnecessarily difficult or expensive. Below is a list of industries ripe for change.

Below is a list of industries ripe for change.

1. Cars

Self-driving cars are going to change the world. This is already happening in small doses with Tesla, Waymo, Uber, and a list of at least 20 other companies.

Every big name in the auto industry is investing in some form of self-driving cars. When cars drive themselves they will likely be faster, safer, have fewer parking issues and be more affordable.

Car ownership itself will change as many people will likely sign up for a ride-sharing service instead of actually owning a vehicle.

The changes we are likely to see in the next 5-10 years in the auto industry will likely shift everything we know about private ground transportation.

2. Real Estate

Prior to the internet, a residential broker provided a significant amount of value and insight into the market, comparable homes and unique guidance. But now the average home buyer is fairly well educated with sites like zillow that provide much of the information that was previously unique to brokers.

Despite providing less value brokers still make roughly the same amount. According bankrate.com the average commission on a residential property is 6%.

Paying 6% in commission without much value beyond giving tours doesn't make sense in the long run.    Companies like Sidedoor and OpenListings begning to capitalize on this and disrupt the market by eliminating the need to use brokers.

With the average price of Manhattan homes exceeding $2 million its easy to see why people are eager to avoid brokerage fees especially in high-priced cities.

Outside of brokerage, the shift in real estate is massive in almost every area. Technology has changed how we interact with physical spaces. This includes large industries like coworking to coliving . Obviously, AirBnB has already shifted the hotel real estate industry.

3. Insurance

The insurance industry is a $1 trillion a year business.

Investors poured $1.7 billion into “insurtech” (i.e., insurance tech) in 2016, according to CB Insights. Despite advances in technology insurance companies are often using antiquated algorithms.

Three companies to watch in the insurance market are Lemonade, SaleMove and Metromile.

As the new businesses in the insurance industry evolve expect the market to become more efficient and people with lower risks to pay lower premiums than before.

4. Energy

Technology and clean energy are changing the way we create power. Solar prices are lower per kilowatt than ever before and with battery technology increasing living off the grid is becoming a viable option.

According to the World Economic Forum, the price of solar installation has decreased 50% since 2010. Companies like Tesla and SolarCity are innovating heavily in this arena.

Check out this cool video on a product called the Smart Flower which follows the sun to provide more solar efficiency.

 

5. Healthcare

The healthcare industry is a $8.7 trillion industry that is ripe for disruption. This comes in many forms from private health care clubs for the wealthy to using AI to create better medical treatment.

Lumiata, for example, provides data to optimize healthcare interactions. Imagia leverages deep learning to provide more useful medical imaging. Modernizing Medicine seeks to build efficient electronic medical record systems.

6. Legal

The legal tech market is thriving. In 2016, spend reached $3 billion.

According to CB Insights, major investments are being made in platforms that offer online legal services, e-discovery solutions, practice management software, IP/trademark tools, artificial intelligence, litigation finance and legal research, among other areas.

Service promises to solve consumer disputes efficiently. Clio provides practice management software. Atrium LTS raised over $10 million to deliver corporate legal services effectively. Finally free Robolawyers are helping good citizens fight parking tickets with less hassle.

Technology and information are truly changing the face of the legal world.

 

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Let us know your thoughts on industries you think we may have missed

 

Josh Bobrowsky-Cofounder & CEO


A Movable Startup Accelerator Comes to Brooklyn: The eBay Startup Cup Challenge

The Ebay Startup Cup recently started. More than 300 New York City-based entrepreneurs forewent Fathers Day celebrations to compete in a 48-hour “Extreme Build-A-Business Weekend” on the LIU campus in Brooklyn. This was the beginning phase of the half-year-long eBay Startup Cup Challenge. The Challenge is also taking place in Washington, D.C., Berlin and Mumbai, and entrants include business teams or individual entrepreneurs with an idea up to three years old.

Chance to Win $17,500

From 48 business teams that participated in the “Extreme Build-A-Business Weekend,” last weekend in Brooklyn, 25 teams were chosen to advance. These teams will move on to an accelerator program where they will compete against each other over the next four months for the chance to win $17,500 for their business. But perhaps more valuable than the monetary prize that one business team will win is the mentoring that all 25 teams will receive from eBay employees, among others.

“There was an extremely diverse collection of business builders and business models that were represented during theweekend, from drone technology to boutique honey collected from the rooftops of Brooklyn brownstones,” said Sean Griffin, a serial entrepreneur and founder of the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit GriffinWorx.

The eBay Startup Cup Challenge is based on a model created by GriffinWorx, which has helped empower tens of thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide, many of them women and in economically underserved parts of the world. The Startup Cup is a carefully designed and repeatable business acceleration program that comes with precise instructions on how to organize, coach and judge participating entrepreneurs. Since 2012, the Startup Cup has run over 208 times in over 72 countries.

Griffin is taking an active role in the eBay Startup Cup Challenge, but he said that 90% of StartUp Cups around the world are licensed by GriffinWorx and run independently by local organizers.

One of the 25 businesses that moved forward from last weekend is ShapeDate, a business that helps users find dance classes in New York City. Another is The Donor Boutique, an ecommerce platform that aims to help non-profits find funding.

“The next few months are when the real business building is tested,” Griffin said, “when you start to experience which businesses are rising to the top and which are not.”

Mentoring By Griffin

Griffin led the mentor training over the weekend using his proprietary GriffinWorx Methodology. But 23 mentors and coaches from various sectors volunteered their time to support the entrepreneurs with a total of 330 coaching sessions. Among the mentors was Alexis Gallivan, who Griffin said was very well received by the entrepreneurs over the weekend. Gallivan works for the eBay Foundation, part of eBay’s corporate social responsibility program.

“Through the StartUp Cup Challenge, we can help innovative ideas grow into viable businesses that create jobs and benefit entire communities,” said Amy Millington, President of the eBay Foundation, in a statement.

So what does Griffin look for in a team that he believes can succeed?
• A coachable team that is open to different thinking
• A team that takes action to advance their business forward
• A team with a feasible business model
• A team with plausible revenue streams

Acknowledging that only 2% of startups receive funding, one workshop given over the weekend focused on asking the question: “How little money do I need to get my company’s revenue growing?” (As opposed to “how much.”)

Another workshop dealt with designing your business model using a “Business Model Scorecard,” a proprietary GriffinWorx visualization that helps entrepreneurs create a viable business model and reduce the time it takes to go to market and start generating revenue.

Other workshops discussed the entrepreneurial mindset and the importance of developing attitudes that support an entrepreneur in building a successful business. Attitudes like: Taking Action (No excuses - do it now!), Getting Comfortable with the Unknown, Revenue is #1, Revenue Equals Self-Funding, Bootstrap Your Life, Leverage Personal Networks, Resources and Relationships, and Anything is Possible.

The 25 teams that moved on (in no particular order)

Whim NYC
Akila Labs
IncSmartBridge
HealthWearintuit
Pearl Street Nutmeg Liqueur
WishPoints,Inc.
Pan-African Federal Credit Union
Ventir
Conscious Kitchen Co.
NGEMS
FlyTechnista LLC
Reach Out
The C3 Method
UNMANNED TING
The Donor Boutique
Zera
Gradient Global Collective
A+H
Sophyy
Food Bar Restaurant
Mr.robot corp
sashe Cosmetics
ShapeDate
Empress Beauty Haven
Unisa Eurani

By Todd Stone


May Recap- NYC Startup Funding

 

May proved to be a pivotal month for startup funding in New York City. Funding for startups increased a whopping 67% percent from the month of April and exceeded $916 million in total. New York City accounted for an impressive 25% of all the money raised nationally thanks to significant surges from Kobalt, Spring and Peloton.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest gets in funding for the month of May.

Cheddar-The media and entertainment video streaming series secured  $19 million from the likes of AT&T, Amazon, Comcast Ventures, Raine Ventures and the New York Stock Exchange. The Series C funding was announced on May 17. Cheddar features live and on-demand news and around the latest in technology and entertainment. One of our 7 Startups to Watch.

Axoni-The analytics and financial services company announced on May 11, that its Series A funding total was $20 million. Some key investors in this round include Goldman Sachs, FinTech, JP Morgan, Euclid Opportunities, the Digital Currency Group and Thomas Reuters.

Away

Away-Raised $20 million to help build their luxury suitcase business. The Series B funding was announced on May 19, and included investors Global Founders Capital, Comcast Ventures, Accel Partners and Forerunner Ventures. Away prides itself on elegant yet lower cost luggage with a direct-to-consumer approach.

Capsule-The innovative on demand pharmacy continued its’ substantial growth by raising $20 million in funding. The company announced its allotment on May 10 and includes noted investors Sound Ventures, Thrive Capital and Virgin Group. Capsule is a free pharmacy delivery service and will drop off medication anywhere in New York City.

Cockroach Labs-The database and enterprise software company announced on May 10 that its Series B funding reached $27 million. The cloud-service company has key investors such as GV, Redpoint, Index Ventures, and FirstMark Capital.

Policy Genius-This thriving comparison company aims to give consumers the inside scoop on securing the cheapest quotes in life, health, renters and auto insurance to name a few. The Series C funding of $30 million was announced on May 24th and included Norwest Venture Partners and Revolution Ventures as key investors in this round.

BounceX- Another analytics, marketing and enterprise software company making a name for itself is BounceX. The behavioral marketing cloud company announced its Series B funding of $31 million on May 23 and cited the Silicon Valley Bank as a lead investor.

ServiceChannel-Making a big jump from $31 million is ServiceChannel who secured $54 million this round. The facilities management software company announced their funding on May 2, with Accel Partners being the lead investor. The company has already announced its plans to use the money to upgrade its facilities and improve upon the contractor management industry.

 

Spring Inc.-Spring has sprung for the digital shopping website as it announced on May 11 that it took in $65 million in Series C funding. The e-commerce site that features, women, men, kids and lifestyle products, received big investments from Thrive Capita, Groupe Arnault, Box Group and Fidelity Investments. 

Convene-Specializing in a one-stop shop for administering and hosting events, meetings and conferences, Convene announced a $68 million capital raise on May 1. The Series C funding including investments from the Durst Organization, ArrowMark Partners, and Elysium Capital Management. Forbes recently named Convene as one of “America’s 100 Most Promising Companies.” 

Kobalt-The company is built on a foundation of creating empowering services for musicians, raked in a stunning $75 million in Series D funding. The May 7 funding announcement included investments from Balderton Capital, MSD Capital and Hearst Entertainment.

Peloton-Undoubtedly the biggest funding of the May cycle comes from the specialized cycling company, Peloton. The company has evolved into the hub for innovative at-home fitness equipment, and also offers multi-faceted at-home classes as well as several high-tech showrooms throughout the US. It’s no wonder that this blossoming exercise giant secured an astonishing $325 million in Series E funding. Their total funding is now just under $450 million. Peloton announced the significant investment on May 24, and included True Ventures, Fidelity Investments, Wellington Management, and QuestMark Partners are some of the key investors.

Breaking Down the Numbers

There were 19 Angel/Seed Deals in New York City in May with the average deal size at $2.1 million, and the total aggregate amount of $40.2. There were eight Series A deals in New York City resulting in a $7.5 million average and a total of $59.75 million. The Series B deals resulted in similar numbers of nine deals at an average of $15.1 million and $136 total. And the number of C and over deals was 10 with an average of $67.8 million and $678 in total.

 

BY: Brendan Fitzgibbons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cofounder's Corner- Put It In Writing

Use email to avoiding disputes and ensure payment for your freelance work.

A videographer friend once found himself in a situation that is unfortunately all too common for freelancers: after agreeing by phone to shoot, edit, and produce a commercial, he laid out $90,000 of his own money and did the job. Then the agency that hired him refused to pay. My friend had virtually nothing in writing to prove that a contract even existed, much less what the agreed-upon terms were. My friend ultimately got paid, but first he had to hire a lawyer, burn his professional relationship with the agency that hired him, and lose a lot more sleep than he should have.

Most people don’t realize that, with certain exceptions, verbal service contracts *are* legally enforceable. The problem is that just because they’re legally enforceable, doesn’t mean they’re practically enforceable: if you have a deal in place to do a small job, the cost of hiring a lawyer and proving the existence of a verbal contract can be more than the job is worth.

Let’s take the story above and turn it into a teachable moment. Here are some practical tips to using email to create written contracts that you’ll be able to collect on (or at least keep your legal fees down if it comes to that.)

Send an immediate follow-up email
When you agree by phone or in person to do a job, the best practice is to send an immediate follow-up email. The email should contain the key components of the deal:

  • The Work: What have you agreed to do?
  • The Money: How much are you getting paid
  • “The Double When”:
    • When are you doing the work
    • When are you getting paid?

The "Double-When" is a crucial point that’s often left out (and was the cause of my friend’s problems in the story above), because people often assume they’ll get paid “when the job is done”. Make sure you lay out when you’re getting paid as precisely as possible, and, if you’re buying a bunch of materials, we suggest getting at least part of the payment in advance.

The Clarification in Closing: you can add a last sentence where the person agrees by not responding. If you were a lawyer, you’d write “if anything stated herein is incorrect, please notify me in writing of the specific point of disagreement.” But a much friendlier version is “let me know if there’s anything I left out.”

Sample Email
Lets take a look at these tricks in practice. The tone of the email can be friendly and informal:

“Hi Bill.

Great talking to you this afternoon. As we discussed, I’ll prepare a 4-course vegan dinner (soup, entrée, salad, and dessert) for 10 people at your house on April 17, with dinner starting at 7:30pm. I’ll be there around 6 to start preparing. My fee is $800 (including groceries), payable half now and half after the dinner. You can send me the deposit via my Venmo account. Let me know if I’ve left anything out. See you on the 17th! ”

A simple 1-paragraph email like this can literally be the difference between getting paid and getting stiffed.

 

Stephen DeRosa

CoFounder & COO


Why Amazon and Whole Foods Make Sense

Last Friday Amazon.com Inc. announced that it will purchase Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 Billion. This represents a 27% premium over Whole Foods stock price from Thursday. CoFounder John Mackey will continue to run Whole Foods after the purchase.

The purchase could stand as a substantial change to how consumers buy groceries. Competitors' stocks dropped after the announcement; Walmart's stock fell 7% and Kroger Co. dropped 17%.

The deal makes sense. Amazon has been planning to get into brick and mortar stores with state of the art technology. In December of 2016 Amazon released the video below highlighting stores without cash registers where you can just walk out with your groceries.

What Amazon Gets

Amazon gets a network of brick and mortar stores with over 460 locations in over 20 States. However, it is not just the size of the supermarket chain that is appealing. Whole Foods has a huge amount of brand loyalty and a great retail shopping experience.

Retail is all about consumer experience, and Whole Foods has it. The staff is pleasant, knowledgable and the stores are always clean. Whole Foods falls on the opposite end of the spectrum with stores like Walmart both on price and experience.

Whole Foods' goes beyond the walls to crafts a specific sense of community and charity at each of its locations.  Additionally, Whole Foods interacts with local sources foods, produce and small brands.

From Whole Foods' Website

  • A Friendly and Fresh Connection

    Supporting local farmers, ranchers, growers and producers helps connect the local community to the people who produce the foods we consume. It also helps keep us connected to the growing seasons and to the unique flavors and diversity of local crops and creations.

  • Preserving Character

    Small local farms are a valuable component of a community’s character, helping maintain agricultural heritage, preserve land use diversity and moderate development. Local product producers help create products that feature the flavors, smells and textures of a community – and are great for sharing with out-of-towners!

Extending Online Food shopping

The play allows Amazon to step up its online food ordering game. The Whole Foods brick and mortar stores will likely serve as fulfillment centers for online orders for both Whole Foods and Amazon.

Prior to the purchase of Whole Foods Amazon's online food ordering service Amazon Pantry lacked the selection of foods of competitors such as Fresh Direct.

As a whole (no pun intended) the deal represents a major step for Amazon into the brick and mortar business of groceries which seems to be one of the last frontiers where consumers still buy goods in person.

This should give Amazon a reach over almost every consumer purchase.

What Whole Foods Gets

Whole Foods gets access to Amazon's technology. This presents the opportunity for exceptionally high levels of efficiency on the back end for storage and shipping as well as new methods for consumer shopping and checkout.

If executed correctly this could mean more profit, lower prices,  better consumer experience and expanding far into competitors market share.

Mackey keeping control

Prior to the announcement it was rumored that shareholder Jana Partners were considering an attempt to remove John Mackey from his role as CEO through shareholder activism.

Mackey who Cofounded the business is outspoken and extremely passionate about his role as CEO. Earlier this month Mackey referred to the Activist investors at Jana Partners as "Greedy Bastards."

In an interview about shareholder activism the 63 year old CEO had the following to say: 

“These people, they just want to sell Whole Foods Market and make hundreds of millions of dollars, and they have to know that I’m going to resist that... That’s my baby. I’m going to protect my kid, and they’ve got to knock Daddy out if they want to take it over.”

Ending Thoughts

I think this is a great play for Amazon, Whole Foods & hopefully the consumer. Living in NYC I love the idea of an easier way to have food delivered to my apartment, or a faster experience at checkouts. Both companies seem to have the potential to benefit from the sharing of large data. The deal seems to make a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. I look forward to seeing whats next for AmazFoods.