Funding Friday: goTenna Puerto Rico Mesh

Our portfolio company goTenna sent a bunch of their mesh networking devices to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria and a number of mesh networks lit up on the island. This is what the goTenna network map looks like on the west side of the island now: So they kicked off this crowdfunding campaign to purchase another 300 devices to get more mesh connectivity on the island. I backed the project yesterday and it would be great if the AVC community could close this out with more donations today. The total raise is $15k. If you want to learn more about goTenna, this Techcrunch story is a good place to start. In a few short months the goTenna mesh device has built this network around the US: I’ve been a fan of the idea of people-powered mesh networking for a long time. It is great to see it
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Drip

Yesterday, our portfolio company Kickstarter announced that they had relaunched Drip, a subscription platform they acquired almost two years ago. Perry Chen, Kickstarter’s founder and Chairman, wrote this blog post explaining what they are trying to do with Drip. I would like to highlight a few quotes from that post: Kickstarter is for projects, Drip is for people. – Kickstarter and Drip are different. Kickstarter is about funding a project. Drip is about supporting a person. In recent years, we’ve seen the growing validation of subscriptions for serial online content creators — podcasters, YouTubers, bloggers — using tools like Flattr, Patreon, and Steady. It’s been great to see organizations build tools like these — the world is far from having too many tools for creators. But there remain large groups of artists and creators who don’t see subscriptions as fitting their creative practices. Our goal with the new
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Update On Stock Options/RSUs Issue

I just saw this on my twitter: This means that the Senate has now made the tax reform bill a win for those who work in startups instead of a loss. I’m thrilled and I want to thank all of you who called your elected officials and those in the Senate Finance Committee who clearly understand the importance of equity compensation to the startup model.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Albert Wenger — November 13, 2017
Call Your Senators to Preserve Equity Compensation for Startups

FemaleFounder.Org

My partner Rebecca posted this to her Twitter yesterday: FemaleFounder.org is a group of women VC investors who are doing regular “office hours” to advise and mentor female founders. As they say “A community of women helping women” I know most of the women who are doing this and they are all great people, investors, and advisors. If you are a woman getting started on your startup journey, check out FemaleFounder.org. It’s a great initiative.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Albert Wenger — November 13, 2017
Call Your Senators to Preserve Equity Compensation for Startups

Don’t Tax Options And RSUs Upon Vesting!

The current draft of the Senate Tax Reform Bill would tax stock options and RSUs upon vesting. Currently, stock options are taxed upon exercise and RSUs are taxed upon release of the underlying shares. This is a HUGE deal to everyone who works in companies that partially compensate their employees with these two equity instruments. What this would mean is every month, when your equity compensation vests a little bit, you will owe taxes on it even though you can’t do anything with that equity compensation. You can’t spend it, you can’t save it, you can’t invest it. Because you don’t have it yet. Taxing equity compensation upon vesting makes no sense. I have seen many employees leave companies and not exercise their vested stock options. It happens all of the time. That should be a clear enough example to the lawmakers that vesting should not be a taxable event.
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Location, Location, Location

Here are some “truisms” about startup investors and location that I’ve experienced and passed on over the years:
  • Startup investors prefer to invest locally
  • The younger the startup business, the more that is true
  • Your lead investor/board member is more likely to be a local investor than your passive/follower investors
  • The location preference is more pronounced with investors who are located in vibrant startup markets
  • The location preference fades as companies mature
Last week Techcrunch published some numbers on the issue of location and startup investing using Crunchbase data on 36,700 startup investment rounds they have tracked from Q1 2012 through October 2017. So let’s see what the numbers say about these truisms. Startup Investors Prefer To Invest Locally This is true, over half of all investors in startups are in the same state. But it appears that the location preference is declining over time, maybe brought on by the
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Video Of The Week: Nurx

Our portfolio company Nurx provides prescriptions via an app on your mobile phone. The initial offerings are birth control and HIV prevention medications, but they will add other prescriptions in the future. This news report talks about their launch in Texas this summer which was extremely successful.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Albert Wenger — November 10, 2017
Board Effectiveness Tip #5: Have a Lead Director Bethany Marz Crystal — November 9, 2017
Leveraging Company Engagement Across the USV Network