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Evgenii Nelepko

Evgenii Nelepko

1 year ago

My 3 biggest errors as a co-founder and CEO

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Rachel Greenberg

Rachel Greenberg

1 year ago

The Unsettling Fact VC-Backed Entrepreneurs Don't Want You to Know

What they'll do is scarier.

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

My acquaintance recently joined a VC-funded startup. Money, equity, and upside possibilities were nice, but he had a nagging dread.

They just secured a $40M round and are hiring like crazy to prepare for their IPO in two years. All signals pointed to this startup's (a B2B IT business in a stable industry) success, and its equity-holding workers wouldn't pass that up.

Five months after starting the work, my friend struggled with leaving. We might overlook the awful culture and long hours at the proper price. This price plus the company's fate and survival abilities sent my friend departing in an unpleasant unplanned resignation before jumping on yet another sinking ship.

This affects founders. This affects VC-backed companies (and all businesses). This affects anyone starting, buying, or running a business.

Here's the under-the-table approach that's draining VC capital, leaving staff terrified (or jobless), founders rattled, and investors upset. How to recognize, solve, and avoid it

The unsettling reality behind door #1

You can't raise money off just your looks, right? If "looks" means your founding team's expertise, then maybe. In my friend's case, the founding team's strong qualifications and track records won over investors before talking figures.

They're hardly the only startup to raise money without a profitable customer acquisition strategy. Another firm raised money for an expensive sleep product because it's eco-friendly. They were off to the races with a few keywords and key players.

Both companies, along with numerous others, elected to invest on product development first. Company A employed all the tech, then courted half their market (they’re a tech marketplace that connects two parties). Company B spent millions on R&D to create a palatable product, then flooded the world with marketing.

My friend is on Company B's financial team, and he's seen where they've gone wrong. It's terrible.

Company A (tech market): Growing? Not quite. To achieve the ambitious expansion they (and their investors) demand, they've poured much of their little capital into salespeople: Cold-calling commission and salary salesmen. Is it working? Considering attrition and companies' dwindling capital, I don't think so.

Company B (green sleep) has been hiring, digital marketing, and opening new stores like crazy. Growing expenses should result in growing revenues and a favorable return on investment; if you grow too rapidly, you may neglect to check that ROI.

Once Company A cut headcount and Company B declared “going concerned”, my friend realized both startups had the same ailment and didn't recognize it.

I shouldn't have to ask a friend to verify a company's cash reserves and profitability to spot a financial problem. It happened anyhow.

The frightening part isn't that investors were willing to invest millions without product-market fit, CAC, or LTV estimates. That's alarming, but not as scary as the fact that startups aren't understanding the problem until VC rounds have dried up.

When they question consultants if their company will be around in 6 months. It’s a red flag. How will they stretch $20M through a 2-year recession with a $3M/month burn rate and no profitability? Alarms go off.

Who's in danger?

In a word, everyone who raised money without a profitable client acquisition strategy or enough resources to ride out dry spells.

Money mismanagement and poor priorities affect every industry (like sinking all your capital into your product, team, or tech, at the expense of probing what customer acquisition really takes and looks like).

This isn't about tech, real estate, or recession-proof luxury products. Fast, cheap, easy money flows into flashy-looking teams with buzzwords, trending industries, and attractive credentials.

If these companies can't show progress or get a profitable CAC, they can't raise more money. They die if they can't raise more money (or slash headcount and find shoestring budget solutions until they solve the real problem).

The kiss of death (and how to avoid it)

If you're running a startup and think raising VC is the answer, pause and evaluate. Do you need the money now?

I'm not saying VC is terrible or has no role. Founders have used it as a Band-Aid for larger, pervasive problems. Venture cash isn't a crutch for recruiting consumers profitably; it's rocket fuel to get you what and who you need.

Pay-to-play isn't a way to throw money at the wall and hope for a return. Pay-to-play works until you run out of money, and if you haven't mastered client acquisition, your cash will diminish quickly.

How can you avoid this bottomless pit? Tips:

  • Understand your burn rate

  • Keep an eye on your growth or profitability.

  • Analyze each and every marketing channel and initiative.

  • Make lucrative customer acquisition strategies and satisfied customers your top two priorities. not brand-new products. not stellar hires. avoid the fundraising rollercoaster to save time. If you succeed in these two tasks, investors will approach you with their thirsty offers rather than the other way around, and your cash reserves won't diminish as a result.

Not as much as your grandfather

My family friend always justified expensive, impractical expenditures by saying it was only monopoly money. In business, startups, and especially with money from investors expecting a return, that's not true.

More founders could understand that there isn't always another round if they viewed VC money as their own limited pool. When the well runs dry, you must refill it or save the day.

Venture financing isn't your grandpa's money. A discerning investor has entrusted you with dry powder in the hope that you'll use it wisely, strategically, and thoughtfully. Use it well.

Athirah Syamimi

Athirah Syamimi

1 year ago

Here's How I Built A Business Offering Unlimited Design Services in Just One Weekend.

Weekend project: limitless design service. It was fun to see whether I could start a business quickly.

I use no-code apps to save time and resources.

TL;DR I started a business utilizing EditorX for my website, Notion for client project management, and a few favors to finish my portfolio.

First step: research (Day 1)

I got this concept from a Kimp Instagram ad. The Minimalist Hustler Daily newsletter mentioned a similar and cheaper service (Graphically).

I Googled other unlimited design companies. Many provide different costs and services. Some supplied solely graphic design, web development, or copywriting.

Step 2: Brainstorming (Day 1)

I did something simple.

  • What benefits and services to provide

  • Price to charge

Since it's a one-person performance (for now), I'm focusing on graphic design. I can charge less.

So I don't overwhelm myself and can accommodate budget-conscious clientele.

Step 3: Construction (Day 1 & 2)

This project includes a management tool, a website, and a team procedure.

I built a project management tool and flow first. Once I had the flow and a Notion board, I tested it with design volunteers. They fake-designed while I built the website.

Tool for Project Management

I modified a Notion template. My goal is to keep clients and designers happy.

Screenshot of project management board in Notion

Team Approach

My sister, my partner, and I kept this business lean. I tweaked the Notion board to make the process smooth. By the end of Sunday, I’d say it’s perfect!

Website

I created the website after they finished the fake design demands. EditorX's drag-and-drop builder attracted me. I didn't need to learn code, and there are templates.

I used a template wireframe.

This project's hardest aspect is developing the site. It's my first time using EditorX and I'm no developer.

People answer all your inquiries in a large community forum.

As a first-time user developing a site in two days, I think I performed OK. Here's the site for feedback.

Screenshot of deuxcreators.com homepage

4th step: testing (Day 2)

Testing is frustrating because it works or doesn't. My testing day was split in two.

  • testing the workflow from payment to onboarding to the website

  • the demand being tested

It's working so far. If someone gets the trial, they can request design work.

I've gotten a couple of inquiries about demand. I’ll be working with them as a start.

Completion

Finally! I built my side project in one weekend. It's too early to tell if this is successful. I liked that I didn't squander months of resources testing out an idea.

Eve Arnold

Eve Arnold

1 year ago

Your Ideal Position As a Part-Time Creator

Inspired by someone I never met

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes

Inspiration is good and bad.

Paul Jarvis inspires me. He's a web person and writer who created his own category by being himself.

Paul said no thank you when everyone else was developing, building, and assuming greater responsibilities. This isn't success. He rewrote the rules. Working for himself, expanding at his own speed, and doing what he loves were his definitions of success.

Play with a problem that you have

The biggest problem can be not recognizing a problem.

Acceptance without question is deception. When you don't push limits, you forget how. You start thinking everything must be as it is.

For example: working. Paul worked a 9-5 agency work with little autonomy. He questioned whether the 9-5 was a way to live, not the way.

Another option existed. So he chipped away at how to live in this new environment.

Don't simply jump

Internet writers tell people considering quitting 9-5 to just quit. To throw in the towel. To do what you like.

The advice is harmful, despite the good intentions. People think quitting is hard. Like courage is the issue. Like handing your boss a resignation letter.

Nope. The tough part comes after. It’s easy to jump. Landing is difficult.

The landing

Paul didn't quit. Intelligent individuals don't. Smart folks focus on landing. They imagine life after 9-5.

Paul had been a web developer for a long time, had solid clients, and was respected. Hence if he pushed the limits and discovered another route, he had the potential to execute.

Working on the side

Society loves polarization. It’s left or right. Either way. Or chaos. It's 9-5 or entrepreneurship.

But like Paul, you can stretch polarization's limits. In-between exists.

You can work a 9-5 and side jobs (as I do). A mix of your favorites. The 9-5's stability and creativity. Fire and routine.

Remember you can't have everything but anything. You can create and work part-time.

My hybrid lifestyle

Not selling books doesn't destroy my world. My globe keeps spinning if my new business fails or if people don't like my Tweets. Unhappy algorithm? Cool. I'm not bothered (okay maybe a little).

The mix gives me the best of both worlds. To create, hone my skill, and grasp big-business basics. I like routine, but I also appreciate spending 4 hours on Saturdays writing.

Some days I adore leaving work at 5 pm and disconnecting. Other days, I adore having a place to write if inspiration strikes during a run or a discussion.

I’m a part-time creator

I’m a part-time creator. No, I'm not trying to quit. I don't work 5 pm - 2 am on the side. No, I'm not at $10,000 MRR.

I work part-time but enjoy my 9-5. My 9-5 has goodies. My side job as well.

It combines both to meet my lifestyle. I'm satisfied.

Join the Part-time Creators Club for free here. I’ll send you tips to enhance your creative game.

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Nicolas Tresegnie

Nicolas Tresegnie

1 year ago

Launching 10 SaaS applications in 100 days

Photo by Mauro Sbicego / Unsplash

Apocodes helps entrepreneurs create SaaS products without writing code. This post introduces micro-SaaS and outlines its basic strategy.

Strategy

Vision and strategy differ when starting a startup.

  • The company's long-term future state is outlined in the vision. It establishes the overarching objectives the organization aims to achieve while also justifying its existence. The company's future is outlined in the vision.

  • The strategy consists of a collection of short- to mid-term objectives, the accomplishment of which will move the business closer to its vision. The company gets there through its strategy.

The vision should be stable, but the strategy must be adjusted based on customer input, market conditions, or previous experiments.

Begin modestly and aim high.

Be truthful. It's impossible to automate SaaS product creation from scratch. It's like climbing Everest without running a 5K. Physical rules don't prohibit it, but it would be suicide.

Apocodes 5K equivalent? Two options:

  • (A) Create a feature that includes every setting option conceivable. then query potential clients “Would you choose us to build your SaaS solution if we offered 99 additional features of the same caliber?” After that, decide which major feature to implement next.

  • (B) Build a few straightforward features with just one or two configuration options. Then query potential clients “Will this suffice to make your product?” What's missing if not? Finally, tweak the final result a bit before starting over.

(A) is an all-or-nothing approach. It's like training your left arm to climb Mount Everest. My right foot is next.

(B) is a better method because it's iterative and provides value to customers throughout.

Focus on a small market sector, meet its needs, and expand gradually. Micro-SaaS is Apocode's first market.

What is micro-SaaS.

Micro-SaaS enterprises have these characteristics:

  • A limited range: They address a specific problem with a small number of features.

  • A small group of one to five individuals.

  • Low external funding: The majority of micro-SaaS companies have Total Addressable Markets (TAM) under $100 million. Investors find them unattractive as a result. As a result, the majority of micro-SaaS companies are self-funded or bootstrapped.

  • Low competition: Because they solve problems that larger firms would rather not spend time on, micro-SaaS enterprises have little rivalry.

  • Low upkeep: Because of their simplicity, they require little care.

  • Huge profitability: Because providing more clients incurs such a small incremental cost, high profit margins are possible.

Micro-SaaS enterprises created with no-code are Apocode's ideal first market niche.

We'll create our own micro-SaaS solutions to better understand their needs. Although not required, we believe this will improve community discussions.

The challenge

In 100 days (September 12–December 20, 2022), we plan to build 10 micro-SaaS enterprises using Apocode.

They will be:

  • Self-serve: Customers will be able to use the entire product experience without our manual assistance.

  • Real: They'll deal with actual issues. They won't be isolated proofs of concept because we'll keep up with them after the challenge.

  • Both free and paid options: including a free plan and a free trial period. Although financial success would be a good result, the challenge's stated objective is not financial success.

This will let us design Apocodes features, showcase them, and talk to customers.

(Edit: The first micro-SaaS was launched!)

Follow along

If you want to follow the story of Apocode or our progress in this challenge, you can subscribe here.

If you are interested in using Apocode, sign up here.

If you want to provide feedback, discuss the idea further or get involved, email me at nicolas.tresegnie@gmail.com

Vishal Chawla

Vishal Chawla

1 year ago

5 Bored Apes borrowed to claim $1.1 million in APE tokens

Takeaway
Unknown user took advantage of the ApeCoin airdrop to earn $1.1 million.
He used a flash loan to borrow five BAYC NFTs, claim the airdrop, and repay the NFTs.

Yuga Labs, the creators of BAYC, airdropped ApeCoin (APE) to anyone who owns one of their NFTs yesterday.

For the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club collections, the team allocated 150 million tokens, or 15% of the total ApeCoin supply, worth over $800 million. Each BAYC holder received 10,094 tokens worth $80,000 to $200,000.

But someone managed to claim the airdrop using NFTs they didn't own. They used the airdrop's specific features to carry it out. And it worked, earning them $1.1 million in ApeCoin.

The trick was that the ApeCoin airdrop wasn't based on who owned which Bored Ape at a given time. Instead, anyone with a Bored Ape at the time of the airdrop could claim it. So if you gave someone your Bored Ape and you hadn't claimed your tokens, they could claim them.

The person only needed to get hold of some Bored Apes that hadn't had their tokens claimed to claim the airdrop. They could be returned immediately.

So, what happened?

The person found a vault with five Bored Ape NFTs that hadn't been used to claim the airdrop.

A vault tokenizes an NFT or a group of NFTs. You put a bunch of NFTs in a vault and make a token. This token can then be staked for rewards or sold (representing part of the value of the collection of NFTs). Anyone with enough tokens can exchange them for NFTs.

This vault uses the NFTX protocol. In total, it contained five Bored Apes: #7594, #8214, #9915, #8167, and #4755. Nobody had claimed the airdrop because the NFTs were locked up in the vault and not controlled by anyone.

The person wanted to unlock the NFTs to claim the airdrop but didn't want to buy them outright s o they used a flash loan, a common tool for large DeFi hacks. Flash loans are a low-cost way to borrow large amounts of crypto that are repaid in the same transaction and block (meaning that the funds are never at risk of not being repaid).

With a flash loan of under $300,000 they bought a Bored Ape on NFT marketplace OpenSea. A large amount of the vault's token was then purchased, allowing them to redeem the five NFTs. The NFTs were used to claim the airdrop, before being returned, the tokens sold back, and the loan repaid.

During this process, they claimed 60,564 ApeCoin airdrops. They then sold them on Uniswap for 399 ETH ($1.1 million). Then they returned the Bored Ape NFT used as collateral to the same NFTX vault.

Attack or arbitrage?

However, security firm BlockSecTeam disagreed with many social media commentators. A flaw in the airdrop-claiming mechanism was exploited, it said.

According to BlockSecTeam's analysis, the user took advantage of a "vulnerability" in the airdrop.

"We suspect a hack due to a flaw in the airdrop mechanism. The attacker exploited this vulnerability to profit from the airdrop claim" said BlockSecTeam.

For example, the airdrop could have taken into account how long a person owned the NFT before claiming the reward.

Because Yuga Labs didn't take a snapshot, anyone could buy the NFT in real time and claim it. This is probably why BAYC sales exploded so soon after the airdrop announcement.

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

2 years ago

A quick guide to formatting your text on INTΞGRITY

[06/20/2022 update] We have now implemented a powerful text editor, but you can still use markdown.

Markdown:

Headers

SYNTAX:

# This is a heading 1
## This is a heading 2
### This is a heading 3 
#### This is a heading 4

RESULT:

This is a heading 1

This is a heading 2

This is a heading 3

This is a heading 4

Emphasis

SYNTAX:

**This text will be bold**
~~Strikethrough~~
*You **can** combine them*

RESULT:

This text will be italic
This text will be bold
You can combine them

Images

SYNTAX:

![Engelbart](https://history-computer.com/ModernComputer/Basis/images/Engelbart.jpg)

RESULT:

Videos

SYNTAX:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KXGZAEWzn0

RESULT:

Links

SYNTAX:

[Int3grity website](https://www.int3grity.com)

RESULT:

Int3grity website

Tweets

SYNTAX:

https://twitter.com/samhickmann/status/1503800505864130561

RESULT:

Blockquotes

SYNTAX:

> Human beings face ever more complex and urgent problems, and their effectiveness in dealing with these problems is a matter that is critical to the stability and continued progress of society. \- Doug Engelbart, 1961

RESULT:

Human beings face ever more complex and urgent problems, and their effectiveness in dealing with these problems is a matter that is critical to the stability and continued progress of society. - Doug Engelbart, 1961

Inline code

SYNTAX:

Text inside `backticks` on a line will be formatted like code.

RESULT:

Text inside backticks on a line will be formatted like code.

Code blocks

SYNTAX:

'''js
function fancyAlert(arg) {
if(arg) {
$.facebox({div:'#foo'})
}
}
'''

RESULT:

function fancyAlert(arg) {
  if(arg) {
    $.facebox({div:'#foo'})
  }
}

Maths

We support LaTex to typeset math. We recommend reading the full documentation on the official website

SYNTAX:

$$[x^n+y^n=z^n]$$

RESULT:

[x^n+y^n=z^n]

Tables

SYNTAX:

| header a | header b |
| ---- | ---- |
| row 1 col 1 | row 1 col 2 |

RESULT:

header aheader bheader c
row 1 col 1row 1 col 2row 1 col 3