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Sanjay Priyadarshi

Sanjay Priyadarshi

2 months ago

A 19-year-old dropped out of college to build a $2,300,000,000 company in 2 years.

More on Entrepreneurship

Eitan Levy

Eitan Levy

3 months ago

The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups

The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups

These startups, and how they used growth-hack marketing to flourish, are some of the more ethical ones, while others are less so.

Before the 1970 World Cup began, Puma paid footballer Pele $120,000 to tie his shoes. The cameras naturally focused on Pele and his Pumas, causing people to realize that Puma was the top football brand in the world.

Early workers of Uber canceled over 5,000 taxi orders made on competing applications in an effort to financially hurt any of their rivals.

PayPal developed a bot that advertised cheap goods on eBay, purchased them, and paid for them with PayPal, fooling eBay into believing that customers preferred this payment option. Naturally, Paypal became eBay's primary method of payment.

Anyone renting a space on Craigslist had their emails collected by AirBnB, who then urged them to use their service instead. A one-click interface was also created to list immediately on AirBnB from Craigslist.

To entice potential single people looking for love, Tinder developed hundreds of bogus accounts of attractive people. Additionally, for at least a year, users were "accidentally" linked.

Reddit initially created a huge number of phony accounts and forced them all to communicate with one another. It eventually attracted actual users—the real meaning of "fake it 'til you make it"! Additionally, this gave Reddit control over the tone of voice they wanted for their site, which is still present today.

To disrupt the conferences of their main rival, Salesforce recruited fictitious protestors. The founder then took over all of the event's taxis and gave a 45-minute pitch for his startup. No place to hide!

When a wholesaler required a minimum purchase of 10, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wanted a way to purchase only one book from them. A wholesaler would deliver the one book he ordered along with an apology for the other eight books after he discovered a loophole and bought the one book before ordering nine books about lichens. On Amazon, he increased this across all of the users.


Original post available here

Evgenii Nelepko

Evgenii Nelepko

9 days ago

My 3 biggest errors as a co-founder and CEO

Reflections on the closed company Hola! Dating app

My pitch to investors

I'll discuss my fuckups as an entrepreneur and CEO. All of them refer to the dating app Hola!, which I co-founded and starred in.

Spring 2021 was when we started. Two techies and two non-techies created a dating app. Pokemon Go and Tinder were combined.

Online dating is a business, and it takes two weeks from a like to a date. We questioned online dating app users if they met anyone offline last year.

75% replied yes, 50% sometimes, 25% usually.

Offline dating is popular, yet people have concerns.

  • Men are reluctant to make mistakes in front of others.

  • Women are curious about the background of everyone who approaches them.

We designed unique mechanics that let people date after a match. No endless chitchat. Women would be safe while men felt like cowboys.

I wish to emphasize three faults that lead to founders' estrangement.

This detachment ultimately led to us shutting down the company.

The wrong technology stack

Situation

Instead of generating a faster MVP and designing an app in a universal stack for iOS and Android, I argued we should pilot the app separately for iOS and Android. Technical founders' expertise made this possible.

Self-reflection

Mistaken strategy. We lost time and resources developing two apps at once. We chose iOS since it's more profitable. Apple took us out after the release, citing Guideline 4.3 Spam. After 4 months, we had nothing. We had a long way to go to get the app on Android and the Store.

I suggested creating a uniform platform for the company's growth. This makes parallel product development easier. The strategist's lack of experience and knowledge made it a piece of crap.

What would I have changed if I could?

We should have designed an Android universal stack. I expected Apple to have issues with a dating app.

Our approach should have been to launch something and subsequently improve it, but prejudice won.

The lesson

Discuss the IT stack with your CTO. It saves time and money. Choose the easiest MVP method.

UX description

2. A tardy search for investments

Situation

Though the universe and other founders encouraged me to locate investors first, I started pitching when we almost had an app.

When angels arrived, it was time to close. The app was banned, war broke out, I left the country, and the other co-founders stayed. We had no savings.

Self-reflection

I loved interviewing users. I'm proud of having done 1,000 interviews. I wanted to understand people's pain points and improve the product.

Interview results no longer affected the product. I was terrified to start pitching. I filled out accelerator applications and redid my presentation. You must go through that so you won't be terrified later.

What would I have changed if I could?

Get an external or internal mentor to help me with my first pitch as soon as possible. I'd be supported if criticized. He'd cheer with me if there was enthusiasm.

In 99% of cases, I'm comfortable jumping into the unknown, but there are exceptions. The mentor's encouragement would have prompted me to act sooner.

The lesson

Begin fundraising immediately. Months may pass. Show investors your pre-MVP project. Draw inferences from feedback.

3. Role ambiguity

Situation

My technical co-founders were also part-time lead developers, which produced communication issues. As co-founders, we communicated well and recognized the problems. Stakes, vesting, target markets, and approach were agreed upon.

We were behind schedule. Technical debt and strategic gap grew.

Bi-daily and weekly reviews didn't help. Each time, there were explanations. Inside, I was freaking out.

Our team

Self-reflection

I am a fairly easy person to talk to. I always try to stick to agreements; otherwise, my head gets stuffed with unnecessary information, interpretations, and emotions.

Sit down -> talk -> decide -> do -> evaluate the results. Repeat it.

If I don't get detailed comments, I start ruining everyone's mood. If there's a systematic violation of agreements without a good justification, I won't join the project or I'll end the collaboration.

What would I have done otherwise?

This is where it’s scariest to draw conclusions. Probably the most logical thing would have been not to start the project as we started it. But that was already a completely different project. So I would not have done anything differently and would have failed again.

But I drew conclusions for the future.

The lesson

First-time founders should find an adviser or team coach for a strategic session. It helps split the roles and responsibilities.

Thomas Tcheudjio

Thomas Tcheudjio

3 months ago

If you don't crush these 3 metrics, skip the Series A.

I recently wrote about getting VCs excited about Marketplace start-ups. SaaS founders became envious!

Understanding how people wire tens of millions is the only Series A hack I recommend.

Few people understand the intellectual process behind investing.

VC is risk management.

Series A-focused VCs must cover two risks.

1. Market risk

You need a large market to cross a threshold beyond which you can build defensibilities. Series A VCs underwrite market risk.

They must see you have reached product-market fit (PMF) in a large total addressable market (TAM).

2. Execution risk

When evaluating your growth engine's blitzscaling ability, execution risk arises.

When investors remove operational uncertainty, they profit.

Series A VCs like businesses with derisked revenue streams. Don't raise unless you have a predictable model, pipeline, and growth.

Please beat these 3 metrics before Series A:

Achieve $1.5m ARR in 12-24 months (Market risk)

Above 100% Net Dollar Retention. (Market danger)

Lead Velocity Rate supporting $10m ARR in 2–4 years (Execution risk)

Hit the 3 and you'll raise $10M in 4 months. Discussing 2/3 may take 6–7 months.

If none, don't bother raising and focus on becoming a capital-efficient business (Topics for other posts).

Let's examine these 3 metrics for the brave ones.

1. Lead Velocity Rate supporting €$10m ARR in 2 to 4 years

Last because it's the least discussed. LVR is the most reliable data when evaluating a growth engine, in my opinion.

SaaS allows you to see the future.

Monthly Sales and Sales Pipelines, two predictive KPIs, have poor data quality. Both are lagging indicators, and minor changes can cause huge modeling differences.

Analysts and Associates will trash your forecasts if they're based only on Monthly Sales and Sales Pipeline.

LVR, defined as month-over-month growth in qualified leads, is rock-solid. There's no lag. You can See The Future if you use Qualified Leads and a consistent formula and process to qualify them.

With this metric in your hand, scaling your company turns into an execution play on which VCs are able to perform calculations risk.

2. Above-100% Net Dollar Retention.

Net Dollar Retention is a better-known SaaS health metric than LVR.

Net Dollar Retention measures a SaaS company's ability to retain and upsell customers. Ask what $1 of net new customer spend will be worth in years n+1, n+2, etc.

Depending on the business model, SaaS businesses can increase their share of customers' wallets by increasing users, selling them more products in SaaS-enabled marketplaces, other add-ons, and renewing them at higher price tiers.

If a SaaS company's annualized Net Dollar Retention is less than 75%, there's a problem with the business.

Slack's ARR chart (below) shows how powerful Net Retention is. Layer chart shows how existing customer revenue grows. Slack's S1 shows 171% Net Dollar Retention for 2017–2019.

Slack S-1

3. $1.5m ARR in the last 12-24 months.

According to Point 9, $0.5m-4m in ARR is needed to raise a $5–12m Series A round.

Target at least what you raised in Pre-Seed/Seed. If you've raised $1.5m since launch, don't raise before $1.5m ARR.

Capital efficiency has returned since Covid19. After raising $2m since inception, it's harder to raise $1m in ARR.

P9's 2016-2021 SaaS Funding Napkin

In summary, less than 1% of companies VCs meet get funded. These metrics can help you win.

If there’s demand for it, I’ll do one on direct-to-consumer.

Cheers!

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Chris Moyse

Chris Moyse

5 months ago

Sony and LEGO raise $2 billion for Epic Games' metaverse

‘Kid-friendly’ project holds $32 billion valuation

Epic Games announced today that it has raised $2 billion USD from Sony Group Corporation and KIRKBI (holding company of The LEGO Group). Both companies contributed $1 billion to Epic Games' upcoming ‘metaverse' project.

“We need partners who share our vision as we reimagine entertainment and play. Our partnership with Sony and KIRKBI has found this,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. A new metaverse will be built where players can have fun with friends and brands create creative and immersive experiences, as well as creators thrive.

Last week, LEGO and Epic Games announced their plans to create a family-friendly metaverse where kids can play, interact, and create in digital environments. The service's users' safety and security will be prioritized.

With this new round of funding, Epic Games' project is now valued at $32 billion.

“Epic Games is known for empowering creators large and small,” said KIRKBI CEO Sren Thorup Srensen. “We invest in trends that we believe will impact the world we and our children will live in. We are pleased to invest in Epic Games to support their continued growth journey, with a long-term focus on the future metaverse.”

Epic Games is expected to unveil its metaverse plans later this year, including its name, details, services, and release date.

Amelie Carver

Amelie Carver

25 days ago

Web3 Needs More Writers to Educate Us About It

WRITE FOR THE WEB3

Why web3’s messaging is lost and how crypto winter is growing growth seeds

Photo by Hitesh Choudhary on Unsplash

People interested in crypto, blockchain, and web3 typically read Bitcoin and Ethereum's white papers. It's a good idea. Documents produced for developers and academia aren't always the ideal resource for beginners.

Given the surge of extremely technical material and the number of fly-by-nights, rug pulls, and other scams, it's little wonder mainstream audiences regard the blockchain sector as an expensive sideshow act.

What's the solution?

Web3 needs more than just builders.

After joining TikTok, I followed Amy Suto of SutoScience. Amy switched from TV scriptwriting to IT copywriting years ago. She concentrates on web3 now. Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are seeking skilled copywriters for web3.

Amy has found that web3's basics are easy to grasp; you don't need technical knowledge. There's a paradigm shift in knowing the basics; be persistent and patient.

Apple is positioning itself as a data privacy advocate, leveraging web3's zero-trust ethos on data ownership.

Finn Lobsien, who writes about web3 copywriting for the Mirror and Twitter, agrees: acronyms and abstractions won't do.

Image screenshot from FLobsien’s Twitter feed

Web3 preached to the choir. Curious newcomers have only found whitepapers and scams when trying to learn why the community loves it. No wonder people resist education and buy-in.

Due to the gender gap in crypto (Crypto Bro is not just a stereotype), it attracts people singing to the choir or trying to cash in on the next big thing.

Last year, the industry was booming, so writing wasn't necessary. Now that the bear market has returned (for everyone, but especially web3), holding readers' attention is a valuable skill.

White papers and the Web3

Why does web3 rely so much on non-growth content?

Businesses must polish and improve their messaging moving into the 2022 recession. The 2021 tech boom provided such a sense of affluence and (unsustainable) growth that no one needed great marketing material. The market found them.

This was especially true for web3 and the first-time crypto believers. Obviously. If they knew which was good.

White papers help. White papers are highly technical texts that walk a reader through a product's details. How Does a White Paper Help Your Business and That White Paper Guy discuss them.

They're meant for knowledgeable readers. Investors and the technical (academic/developer) community read web3 white papers. White papers are used when a product is extremely technical or difficult to assist an informed reader to a conclusion. Web3 uses them most often for ICOs (initial coin offerings).

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

White papers for web3 education help newcomers learn about the web3 industry's components. It's like sending a first-grader to the Annotated Oxford English Dictionary to learn to read. It's a reference, not a learning tool, for words.

Newcomers can use platforms that teach the basics. These included Coinbase's Crypto Basics tutorials or Cryptochicks Academy, founded by the mother of Ethereum's inventor to get more women utilizing and working in crypto.

Discord and Web3 communities

Discord communities are web3's opposite. Discord communities involve personal communications and group involvement.

Online audience growth begins with community building. User personas prefer 1000 dedicated admirers over 1 million lukewarm followers, and the language is much more easygoing. Discord groups are renowned for phishing scams, compromised wallets, and incorrect information, especially since the crypto crisis.

White papers and Discord increase industry insularity. White papers are complicated, and Discord has a high risk threshold.

Web3 and writing ads

Copywriting is emotional, but white papers are logical. It uses the brain's quick-decision centers. It's meant to make the reader invest immediately.

Not bad. People think sales are sleazy, but they can spot the poor things.

Ethical copywriting helps you reach the correct audience. People who gain a following on Medium are likely to have copywriting training and a readership (or three) in mind when they publish. Tim Denning and Sinem Günel know how to identify a target audience and make them want to learn more.

In a fast-moving market, copywriting is less about long-form content like sales pages or blogs, but many organizations do. Instead, the copy is concise, individualized, and high-value. Tweets, email marketing, and IM apps (Discord, Telegram, Slack to a lesser extent) keep engagement high.

What does web3's messaging lack? As DAOs add stricter copyrighting, narrative and connecting tales seem to be missing.

Web3 is passionate about constructing the next internet. Now, they can connect their passion to a specific audience so newcomers understand why.

Jay Peters

Jay Peters

4 months ago

Apple AR/VR heaset

Apple is said to have opted for a standalone AR/VR headset over a more powerful tethered model.
It has had a tumultuous history.

Apple's alleged mixed reality headset appears to be the worst-kept secret in tech, and a fresh story from The Information is jam-packed with details regarding the device's rocky development.

Apple's decision to use a separate headgear is one of the most notable aspects of the story. Apple had yet to determine whether to pursue a more powerful VR headset that would be linked with a base station or a standalone headset. According to The Information, Apple officials chose the standalone product over the version with the base station, which had a processor that later arrived as the M1 Ultra. In 2020, Bloomberg published similar information.

That decision appears to have had a long-term impact on the headset's development. "The device's many processors had already been in development for several years by the time the choice was taken, making it impossible to go back to the drawing board and construct, say, a single chip to handle all the headset's responsibilities," The Information stated. "Other difficulties, such as putting 14 cameras on the headset, have given hardware and algorithm engineers stress."

Jony Ive remained to consult on the project's design even after his official departure from Apple, according to the story. Ive "prefers" a wearable battery, such as that offered by Magic Leap. Other prototypes, according to The Information, placed the battery in the headset's headband, and it's unknown which will be used in the final design.

The headset was purportedly shown to Apple's board of directors last week, indicating that a public unveiling is imminent. However, it is possible that it will not be introduced until later this year, and it may not hit shop shelves until 2023, so we may have to wait a bit to try it.
For further down the line, Apple is working on a pair of AR spectacles that appear like Ray-Ban wayfarer sunglasses, but according to The Information, they're "still several years away from release." (I'm interested to see how they compare to Meta and Ray-Bans' true wayfarer-style glasses.)