More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
5 months ago
Trends in SaaS Funding from 2016 to 2022
Unsurprisingly, round sizes have expanded and will taper down in 2022. In 2016, pre-seed rounds were $200k to $500k; currently, they're $1-$2m. Despite the macroeconomic scenario, Series A have expanded from $3m to $12m in 2016 to $6m and $18m in 2022.
There are hints that valuations are rebounding this year. Pre-seed valuations in 2022 are $12m from $3m in 2016, and Series B prices are $270m from $100m in 2016.
Compared to public SaaS multiples, Series B valuations more closely reflect the market, but Seed and Series A prices seem to be inflated regardless of the market.
I'd like to know how each annual cohort performed for investors, based on the year they invested and the valuations. I can't access this information.
Seed firms' ARR forecasts have risen from $0 to $0.6m to $0 to $1m. 2016 expected $1.2m to $3m, 2021 $0.5m to $4m, and this year $0.5m to $2.5m, suggesting that Series A firms may raise with less ARR today. Series B minutes fell from $4.2m to $3m.
2022 is the year that VCs start discussing capital efficiency in portfolio meetings. Given the economic shift in the markets and the stealthy VC meltdown, it's not surprising. Christopher Janz added capital efficiency to the SaaS Napkin as a new statistic for Series A (3.5x) and Series B. (2.5x). Your investors must live under a rock if they haven't asked about capital efficiency. If you're unsure:
The Capital Efficiency Ratio is the ratio of how much a company has spent growing revenue and how much they’re receiving in return. It is the broadest measure of company effectiveness in generating ARR
No one knows what's next, including me. All startup and growing enterprises around me are tightening their belts and extending their runways in anticipation of a difficult fundraising ride. If you're wanting to raise money but can wait, wait till the market is more stable and access to money is easier.
4 months 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
4 months ago
The Entrepreneurial Chicken and Egg
University entrepreneurship is like a Willy Wonka Factory of ideas. Classes, roommates, discussions, and the cafeteria all inspire new ideas. I've seen people establish a business without knowing its roots.
Chicken or egg? On my mind: I've asked university founders around the world whether the problem or solution came first.
One African team I met started with the “instant noodles” problem in their academic ecosystem. Many of us have had money issues in college, which may have led to poor nutritional choices.
Many university students in a war-torn country ate quick noodles or pasta for dinner.
Noodles required heat, water, and preparation in the boarding house. Unreliable power from one hot plate per blue moon. What's healthier, easier, and tastier than sodium-filled instant pots?
BOOM. They were fixing that. East African kids need affordable, nutritious food.
This is a real difficulty the founders faced every day with hundreds of comrades.
This sparked their serendipitous entrepreneurial journey and became their business's cornerstone.
I asked a UK team about their company idea. They said the solution fascinated them.
The crew was fiddling with social media algorithms. Why are some people more popular? They were studying platforms and social networks, which offered a way for them.
Solving a problem? Yes. Long nights of university research lead them to it. Is this like world hunger? Social media influencers confront this difficulty regularly.
It made me ponder something. Is there a correct response?
In my heart, yes, but in my head…maybe?
I believe you should lead with empathy and embrace the problem, not the solution. Big or small, businesses should solve problems. This should be your focus. This is especially true when building a social company with an audience in mind.
Philosophically, invention and innovation are occasionally accidental. Also not penalized. Think about bugs and the creation of Velcro, or the inception of Teflon. They tackle difficulties we overlook. The route to the problem may look different, but there is a path there.
There's no golden ticket to the Chicken-Egg debate, but I'll keep looking this summer.
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4 months 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
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.
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).
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.
1 month ago
The Brand Structure of U.S. Electric Vehicle Production
Will Tesla be able to maintain its lead in the EV market for very long?
This is one of the most pressing issues in the American auto sector today. One positive aspect of Tesla is the company's devoted customer base and recognizable name recognition (similar to Apple). It also invests more in research and development per vehicle than its rivals and has a head start in EV production.
Conversely, established automakers like Volkswagen are actively plotting their strategy to surpass Tesla. As the current market leaders, they have decades of experience in the auto industry and are spending billions to catch up.
We've visualized data from the EPA's 2022 Automotive Trends Report to bring you up to speed on this developing story.
Info for the Model Year of 2021
The full production data used in this infographic is for the 2021 model year, but it comes from a report for 2022.
Combined EV and PHEV output is shown in the table below (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle).
It is important to note that Toyota and Stellantis, the two largest legacy automakers in this dataset, only produced PHEVs. Toyota's first electric vehicle, the bZ4X, won't hit the market until 2023.
Stellantis seems to be falling even further behind, despite having enormous unrealized potential in its Jeep and Ram brands. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a recent interview that the firm has budgeted $36 billion for electrification and software.
Legacy Brands with the Most Momentum
In the race to develop electric vehicles, some long-standing manufacturers have gotten the jump on their rivals.
Volkswagen, one of these storied manufacturers, has made a significant investment in electric vehicles (EVs) in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal. The company plans to roll out multiple EV models, including the ID.3 hatchback, ID.4 SUV, and ID. Buzz, with the goal of producing 22 million EVs by 2028. (an electric revival of the classic Microbus).
Even Ford is keeping up, having just announced an EV investment of $22 billion between 2021 and 2025. In November of 2022, the company manufactured their 150,000th Mustang Mach-E, and by the end of 2023, they hoped to have 270,000 of them in circulation.
Additionally, over 200,000 F-150 Lightnings have been reserved since Ford announced the truck. The Lightning is scheduled to have a production run of 15,000 in 2022, 55,000 in 2023, and 80,000 in 2024. Ford's main competitor in the electric pickup truck segment, Rivian, is on track to sell 25,000 vehicles by 2022.
2 months ago
Apple: Showing Ads on Your iPhone
This report from Mark Gurman has stuck with me:
In the News and Stocks apps, the display ads are no different than what you might get on an ad-supported website. In the App Store, the ads are for actual apps, which are probably more useful for Apple users than mortgage rates. Some people may resent Apple putting ads in the News and Stocks apps. After all, the iPhone is supposed to be a premium device. Let’s say you shelled out $1,000 or more to buy one, do you want to feel like Apple is squeezing more money out of you just to use its standard features? Now, a portion of ad revenue from the News app’s Today tab goes to publishers, but it’s not clear how much. Apple also lets publishers advertise within their stories and keep the vast majority of that money. Surprisingly, Today ads also appear if you subscribe to News+ for $10 per month (though it’s a smaller number).
I use Apple News often. It's a good general news catch-up tool, like Twitter without the BS. Customized notifications are helpful. Fast and lovely. Except for advertisements. I have Apple One, which includes News+, and while I understand why the magazines still have brand ads, it's ridiculous to me that Apple enables web publishers to introduce awful ads into this experience. Apple's junky commercials are ridiculous.
We know publishers want and probably requested this. Let's keep Apple News ad-free for the much smaller percentage of paid users, and here's your portion. (Same with Stocks, which is more sillier.)
Paid app placement in the App Store is a wonderful approach for developers to find new users (though far too many of those ads are trying to trick users, in my opinion).
Apple is also planning to increase ads in its Maps app. This sounds like Google Maps, and I don't like it. I never find these relevant, and they clutter up the user experience. Apple Maps now has a UI advantage (though not a data/search one, which matters more).
Apple is nickel-and-diming its customers. We spend thousands for their products and premium services like Apple One. We all know why: income must rise, and new firms are needed to scale. This will eventually backfire.