More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
1 year ago
How We Just Raised $6M At An $80M Valuation From 100+ Investors Using A Link (Without Pitching)
Lawtrades nearly failed three years ago.
We couldn't raise Series A or enthusiasm from VCs.
We raised $6M (at a $80M valuation) from 100 customers and investors using a link and no pitching.
We refocused our business first.
Lawtrades raised $3.7M while Atrium raised $75M. By comparison, we seemed unimportant.
We had to close the company or try something new.
As I've written previously, a pivot saved us. Our initial focus on SMBs attracted many unprofitable customers. SMBs needed one-off legal services, meaning low fees and high turnover.
Tech startups were different. Their General Councels (GCs) needed near-daily support, resulting in higher fees and lower churn than SMBs.
We stopped unprofitable customers and focused on power users. To avoid dilution, we borrowed against receivables. We scaled our revenue 10x, from $70k/mo to $700k/mo.
Then, we reconsidered fundraising (and do it differently)
This time was different. Lawtrades was cash flow positive for most of last year, so we could dictate our own terms. VCs were still wary of legaltech after Atrium's shutdown (though they were thinking about the space).
We neither wanted to rely on VCs nor dilute more than 10% equity. So we didn't compete for in-person pitch meetings.
AngelList Roll-Up Vehicle (RUV). Up to 250 accredited investors can invest in a single RUV. First, we emailed customers the RUV. Why? Because I wanted to help the platform's users.
Imagine if Uber or Airbnb let all drivers or Superhosts invest in an RUV. Humans make the platform, theirs and ours. Giving people a chance to invest increases their loyalty.
We expanded after initial interest.
We created a Journey link, containing everything that would normally go in an investor pitch:
- Trailer (from me)
- Product demo
We could also link to our AngelList RUV and send the pitch to an unlimited number of people. Instead of 1:1, we had 1:10,000 pitches-to-investors.
We posted Journey's link in RUV Alliance Discord. 600 accredited investors noticed it immediately. Within days, we raised $250,000 from customers-turned-investors.
Stonks, which live-streamed our pitch to thousands of viewers, was interested in our grassroots enthusiasm. We got $1.4M from people I've never met.
These updates on Pump generated more interest. Facebook, Uber, Netflix, and Robinhood executives all wanted to invest. Sahil Lavingia, who had rejected us, gave us $100k.
We closed the round with public support.
Without a single pitch meeting, we'd raised $2.3M. It was a result of natural enthusiasm: taking care of the people who made us who we are, letting them move first, and leveraging their enthusiasm with VCs, who were interested.
We used network effects to raise $3.7M from a founder-turned-VC, bringing the total to $6M at a $80M valuation (which, by the way, I set myself).
What flipping the fundraising script allowed us to do:
We started with private investors instead of 2–3 VCs to show VCs what we were worth. This gave Lawtrades the ability to:
- Without meetings, share our vision. Many people saw our Journey link. I ended up taking meetings with people who planned to contribute $50k+, but still, the ratio of views-to-meetings was outrageously good for us.
- Leverage ourselves. Instead of us selling ourselves to VCs, they did. Some people with large checks or late arrivals were turned away.
- Maintain voting power. No board seats were lost.
- Utilize viral network effects. People-powered.
- Preemptively halt churn by turning our users into owners. People are more loyal and respectful to things they own. Our users make us who we are — no matter how good our tech is, we need human beings to use it. They deserve to be owners.
I don't blame founders for being hesitant about this approach. Pump and RUVs are new and scary. But it won’t be that way for long. Our approach redistributed some of the power that normally lies entirely with VCs, putting it into our hands and our network’s hands.
This is the future — another way power is shifting from centralized to decentralized.
9 months ago
How much did YouTube pay for 10 million views?
Ali's $1,054,053.74 YouTube Adsense haul.
YouTuber, entrepreneur, and former doctor Ali Abdaal. He began filming productivity and financial videos in 2017. Ali Abdaal has 3 million YouTube subscribers and has crossed $1 million in AdSense revenue. Crazy, no?
Ali will share the revenue of his top 5 youtube videos, things he's learned that you can apply to your side hustle, and how many views it takes to make a livelihood off youtube.
First, "The Long Game."
All good things take time to bear fruit. Compounding improves everything. Long-term work yields better returns. Ali made his first dollar after nine months and 85 videos.
Second, "One piece of content can transform your life, but you never know which one."
Had he abandoned YouTube at 84 videos without making any money, he wouldn't have filmed the 85th video that altered everything.
Third Lesson: Your Industry Choice Can Multiply.
The industry or niche you target as a business owner or side hustler can have a major impact on how much money you make.
Here are the top 5 videos.
1) 9.8m views: $191,258.16 for 9 passive income ideas
Ali made 2 points.
We should consider YouTube videos digital assets. They're investments, which make us money. His investments are yielding passive income.
Investing extra time and effort in your films can pay off.
2) How to Invest for Beginners — 5.2m Views: $87,200.08.
This video did poorly in the first several weeks after it was published; it was his tenth poorest performer. Don't worry about things you can't control. This applies to life, not just YouTube videos.
He stated we constantly have anxieties, fears, and concerns about things outside our control, but if we can find that line, life is easier and more pleasurable.
3) How to Build a Website in 2022— 866.3k views: $42,132.72.
The RPM was $48.86 per thousand views, making it his highest-earning video. Squarespace, Wix, and other website builders are trying to put ads on it and competing against one other, so ad rates go up.
Because it was beyond his niche, Ali almost didn't make the video. He made the video because he wanted to help at least one person.
4) How I take notes on my iPad in medical school — 5.9m views: $24,479.80
85th video. It's the video that affected Ali's YouTube channel and his life the most. The video's success wasn't certain.
5) How I Type Fast 156 Words Per Minute — 8.2M views: $25,143.17
Ali didn't know this video would perform well; he made it because he can type fast and has been practicing for 10 years. So he made a video with his best advice.
How many views to different wealth levels?
It depends on geography, niche, and other monetization sources. To keep things simple, he would solely utilize AdSense.
How many views to generate money?
To generate money on Youtube, you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time. How much work do you need to make pocket money?
Ali's first 1,000 subscribers took 52 videos and 6 months. The typical channel with 1,000 subscribers contains 152 videos, according to Tubebuddy. It's time-consuming.
After monetizing, you'll need 15,000 views/month to make $5-$10/day.
How many views to go part-time?
Say you make $35,000/year at your day job. If you work 5 days/week, you make $7,000/year each day. If you want to drop down from 5 days to 4 days/week, you need to make an extra $7,000/year from YouTube, or $600/month.
What's the quit-your-job budget?
Silicon Valley Girl is in a highly successful niche targeting tech-focused folks in the west. When her channel had 500k views/month, she made roughly $3,000/month or $47,000/year, enough to quit your work.
Marina has another 1.5m subscriber channel in Russia, which has a lower rpm because fewer corporations advertise there than in the west. 2.3 million views/month is $4,000/month or $50,000/year, enough to quit your employment.
Marina is an intriguing example because she has three YouTube channels with the same skills, but one is 16x more profitable due to the niche she chose.
In Ali's case, he made 100+ videos when his channel was producing enough money to quit his job, roughly $4,000/month.
How many views make you rich?
Depending on how you define rich. Ali felt prosperous with over $100,000/year and 3–5m views/month.
YouTubers and artists don't treat their work like a company, which is a mistake. Businesses have been attempting to figure this out for decades, if not centuries.
We can learn from the business world how to monetize YouTube, Instagram, and Tiktok and make them into sustainable enterprises where we can hire people and delegate tasks.
Watch Ali's video explaining all this:
This post is a summary. Read the full article here
Aaron Dinin, PhD
3 months ago
Are You Unintentionally Creating the Second Difficult Startup Type?
Most don't understand the issue until it's too late.
My first startup was what entrepreneurs call the hardest. A two-sided marketplace.
Two-sided marketplaces are the hardest startups because founders must solve the chicken or the egg conundrum.
A two-sided marketplace needs suppliers and buyers. Without suppliers, buyers won't come. Without buyers, suppliers won't come. An empty marketplace and a founder striving to gain momentum result.
My first venture made me a struggling founder seeking to achieve traction for a two-sided marketplace. The company failed, and I vowed never to start another like it.
I didn’t. Unfortunately, my second venture was almost as hard. It failed like the second-hardest startup.
What kind of startup is the second-hardest?
The second-hardest startup, which is almost as hard to develop, is rarely discussed in the startup community. Because of this, I predict more founders fail each year trying to develop the second-toughest startup than the hardest.
Fairly, I have no proof. I see many startups, so I have enough of firsthand experience. From what I've seen, for every entrepreneur developing a two-sided marketplace, I'll meet at least 10 building this other challenging startup.
I'll describe a startup I just met with its two co-founders to explain the second hardest sort of startup and why it's so hard. They created a financial literacy software for parents of high schoolers.
The issue appears plausible. Children struggle with money. Parents must teach financial responsibility. Problems?
Buyers and users are different.
The financial literacy app I described above targets parents. The parent doesn't utilize the app. Child is end-user. That may not seem like much, but it makes customer and user acquisition and onboarding difficult for founders.
The difficulty of a buyer-user imbalance
The company developing a product faces a substantial operational burden when the buyer and end customer are different. Consider classic firms where the buyer is the end user to appreciate that responsibility.
Entrepreneurs selling directly to end users must educate them about the product's benefits and use. Each demands a lot of time, effort, and resources.
Imagine selling a financial literacy app where the buyer and user are different. To make the first sale, the entrepreneur must establish all the items I mentioned above. After selling, the entrepreneur must supply a fresh set of resources to teach, educate, or train end-users.
Thus, a startup with a buyer-user mismatch must market, sell, and train two organizations at once, requiring twice the work with the same resources.
The second hardest startup is hard for reasons other than the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. It takes a lot of creativity and luck to solve the chicken-or-egg conundrum.
The buyer-user mismatch problem cannot be overcome by innovation or luck. Buyer-user mismatches must be solved by force. Simply said, when a product buyer is different from an end-user, founders have a lot more work. If they can't work extra, their companies fail.
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6 months ago
An Approach to Product Strategy
I've been pondering product strategy and how to articulate it. Frameworks helped guide our thinking.
If your teams aren't working together or there's no clear path to victory, your product strategy may not be well-articulated or communicated (if you have one).
Before diving into a product strategy's details, it's important to understand its role in the bigger picture — the pieces that move your organization forward.
the overall picture
A product strategy is crucial, in my opinion. It's part of a successful product or business. It's the showpiece.
To simplify, we'll discuss four main components:
Your company's mission? Your company/product in 35 years? Which headlines?
The vision defines everything your organization will do in the long term. It shows how your company impacted the world. It's your organization's rallying cry.
An ambitious but realistic vision is needed.
Without a clear vision, your product strategy may be inconsistent.
Our main subject. Product strategy connects everything. It fulfills the vision.
In Part 2, we'll discuss product strategy.
This component can be goals, objectives, key results, targets, milestones, or whatever goal-tracking framework works best for your organization.
These product strategy metrics will help your team prioritize strategies and roadmaps.
Your company's goals should be unified. This fuels success.
The roadmap is your product strategy's timeline. It provides a prioritized view of your team's upcoming deliverables.
A roadmap is time-bound and includes measurable goals for your company. Your team's steps and capabilities for executing product strategy.
If your team has trouble prioritizing or defining a roadmap, your product strategy or vision is likely unclear.
Formulation of a Product Strategy
Now that we've discussed where your product strategy fits in the big picture, let's look at a framework.
A product strategy should include challenges, an approach, and actions.
First, analyze the problems/situations you're solving. It can be customer- or company-focused.
The analysis should explain the problems and why they're important. Try to simplify the situation and identify critical aspects.
What issues are we attempting to resolve?
What obstacles—internal or otherwise—are we attempting to overcome?
What is the opportunity, and why should we pursue it, in your opinion?
Second, describe your approach. This can be a set of company policies for handling the challenge. It's the overall approach to the first part's analysis.
The approach can be your company's bets, the solutions you've found, or how you'll solve the problems you've identified.
Again, these questions can help:
What is the value that we hope to offer to our clients?
Which market are we focusing on first?
What makes us stand out? Our benefit over rivals?
Third, identify actions that result from your approach. Second-part actions should be these.
Coordinate these actions. You may need to add products or features to your roadmap, acquire new capabilities through partnerships, or launch new marketing campaigns. Whatever fits your challenges and strategy.
What skills do we need to develop or obtain?
What is the chosen remedy? What are the main outputs?
What else ought to be added to our road map?
Put everything together
… and iterate!
Strategy isn't one-and-done. Changes occur. Economies change. Competitors emerge. Customer expectations change.
One unexpected event can make strategies obsolete quickly. Muscle it. Review, evaluate, and course-correct your strategies with your teams. Quarterly works. In a new or unstable industry, more often.
Crypto Zen Monk
3 months ago
How to DYOR in the world of cryptocurrency
We must create separate ideas and handle our own risks to be better investors. DYOR is crucial.
The only thing unsustainable is your cluelessness.
On social media, there is a lot of false information and divergent viewpoints. All of these facts might be accurate, but they might not be appropriate for your portfolio and investment preferences.
You become a more knowledgeable investor thanks to DYOR.
DYOR improves your portfolio's risk management.
My DYOR resources are below.
Messari: Major Blockchains' Activities
New York-based Messari provides cryptocurrency open data libraries.
Major blockchains offer 24-hour on-chain volume. https://messari.io/screener/most-active-chains-DB01F96B
What to do
Invest in stable cryptocurrencies. Sort Messari by Real Volume (24H) or Reported Market Cap.
Coingecko: Research on Ecosystems
Top 10 Ecosystems by Coingecko are good.
What to do
Invest in quality.
Leading ten Ecosystems by Market Cap
There are a lot of coins in the ecosystem (second last column of above chart)
CoinGecko's Market Cap Crypto Categories Market capitalization-based cryptocurrency categories. Ethereum Ecosystem www.coingecko.com
Fear & Greed Index for Bitcoin (FGI)
The Bitcoin market sentiment index ranges from 0 (extreme dread) to 100. (extreme greed).
How to Apply
See market sentiment:
Extreme fright = opportunity to buy
Extreme greed creates sales opportunity (market due for correction).
Glassnode gives facts, information, and confidence to make better Bitcoin, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency investments and trades.
Explore free and paid metrics.
Stock to Flow Ratio: Application
The popular Stock to Flow Ratio concept believes scarcity drives value. Stock to flow is the ratio of circulating Bitcoin supply to fresh production (i.e. newly mined bitcoins). The S/F Ratio has historically predicted Bitcoin prices. PlanB invented this metric.
Utilization: Ethereum Hash Rate
Ethereum miners produce an estimated number of hashes per second.
ycharts: Hash rate of the Bitcoin network
TradingView is your go-to tool for investment analysis, watch lists, technical analysis, and recommendations from other traders/investors.
Research for a cryptocurrency project
Two key questions every successful project must ask: Q1: What is this project trying to solve? Is it a big problem or minor? Q2: How does this project make money?
Check out the white paper.
check out the project's internet presence on github, twitter, and medium.
the transparency of it
Verify the team structure and founders. Verify their LinkedIn profile, academic history, and other qualifications. Search for their names with scam.
Where to purchase and use cryptocurrencies Is it traded on trustworthy exchanges?
From CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap, we may learn about market cap, circulations, and other important data.
The project must solve a problem. Solving a problem is the goal of the founders.
Avoid projects that resemble multi-level marketing or ponzi schemes.
Your use of social media
Use social media carefully or ignore it: Twitter, TradingView, and YouTube
Someone said this before and there are some truth to it. Social media bullish => short.
Investigate. Spend time. You decide. Worth it!
Only you have the best interest in your financial future.
5 months ago
Looker Studio Pro is now generally available, according to Google.
Great News about the new Google Business Intelligence Solution
Google has renamed Data Studio to Looker Studio and Looker Studio Pro.
Now, Google releases Looker Studio Pro. Similar to the move from Data Studio to Looker Studio, Looker Studio Pro is basically what Looker was previously, but both solutions will merge. Google says the Pro edition will acquire new enterprise management features, team collaboration capabilities, and SLAs.
In addition to Google's announcements and sales methods, additional features include:
Looker Studio assets can now have organizational ownership. Customers can link Looker Studio to a Google Cloud project and migrate existing assets once. This provides:
Your users' created Looker Studio assets are all kept in a Google Cloud project.
When the users who own assets leave your organization, the assets won't be removed.
Using IAM, you may provide each Looker Studio asset in your company project-level permissions.
Other Cloud services can access Looker Studio assets that are owned by a Google Cloud project.
Looker Studio Pro clients may now manage report and data source access at scale using team workspaces.
Google announcing these features for the pro version is fascinating. Both products will likely converge, but Google may only release many features in the premium version in the future. Microsoft with Power BI and its free and premium variants already achieves this.
Sources and Further Readings
Google, Release Notes (2022)
Google, Looker (2022)