Hip hop stars are taking their reputations to Wall Street and Sand Hill road.
Unlike their rock star brethren, who’ve historically been disinterested in dabbling with startups
, quite a few hip hop artists have amassed good-sized portfolios. They’ve seen a few big hits too, most recently including a massive up round for zero-commission stock trading platform Robinhood
, which counted Jay-Z, Nas and Snoop Dogg among its earlier backers.
But just how deep does the hip hop-startup relationship go and where is it headed? To shed some light on that question, we put together a review of Crunchbase
data on the startup investment activity of famous musicians. We looked at both hip hop and pop stars, culling a list of 21
artists who are either active investors or have joined one or more rounds in recent years.
The general conclusion: Artists are doing more deals, raising more funds and
Continue reading "Hip hop finds its beat in the startup scene"
If there’s one thing I learned from my time as both a journalist at The Wall Street Journal and Forbes
and, now, advising a global venture capital firm on communications, it’s that storytelling can make or break a company.
This is especially true the more complicated and arcane a company’s technology is. Stories about online-dating and burrito-delivery apps are easily understood by most people. But if a company specializes in making technology for hybrid-cloud data centers, or parsing specialized IT alerts and cybersecurity warnings, the storytelling task becomes much harder — but, I would argue, even more important.
Sure, a wonky company will still be able to talk easily to its customers and chat up nerdy CIOs at trade shows. But what happens when they raise a Series C or D round of financing and actually need to reach a broader audience — like really big, potential business partners, potential acquirers, public
Continue reading "Storytelling for B2B startups: Avoiding ‘buzzword bingo’ to make your wonky enterprise company worth talking about"
During a recent interview with Forbes
I was asked to reflect on the “Imposter Syndrome” and whether or not I was affected by it. My answer was “All the time, actually!” I came to realize that the insecurities attendant to being a first-generation college grad never really go away, and that their myriad visits continue to bedevil one’s sense of belonging.
I began to vaguely sense this after business school. I held three MIT degrees and yet the homogeneity of my workplace caused doubt to creep into my mind. The official recognition and naming of this syndrome changed me, because it made clear that I’d always have to remain on guard and proactively shore up feared shortcomings.
As investors, we constantly remind entrepreneurs that they’ll hear many nos and will have to power through them to get to the yesses. This is easier said than done for those whose
Continue reading "Confronting the ‘imposter syndrome’"
Walking into my first ever meeting with a structural packaging designer, I started rooting around in my bag before exclaiming, “This is the sort of thing I want!” She leaned forward in her chair, delighted to have a customer with a strong guide, then groaned audibly when she saw what I had placed on the table: the packaging from my new iPhone.
“You can have anything you want,” she countered, “but if you want your packaging to look and feel like Apple’s, you’ll have to increase the unit cost for your packaging by 10x.”
Packaging is just one example — there are dozens — of why Apple is a rank outlier in almost every way. Or, put differently: Using the Cupertino-based company as your template for how to build a startup is not a great idea.Let me tell you why.
Manufacturing constraints be damned!
Apple is unusual in many ways, but nothing
Continue reading "Apple is an exception to nearly every rule"
In the first episode of the new “Interesting People in Interesting Times”
podcast, recorded at the March 5th Andrew Yang, tech entrepreneur, founder of Venture for America
, and author of The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future
, discusses his latest endeavor — vying for the Democratic party nomination
to run for President of the United States.
Yang outlines his radical policy agenda, which focuses on Universal Basic Income and includes a “freedom dividend.” He talks about the very real and immediate threat of artificial intelligence, how new technologies are erasing millions of jobs before our eyes, and why we need to put humanity first. He also addresses “the big four” and what he plans to do about Amazon.
During the interview, Yang called out governments inability to address large scale problems and the challenges that technology is creating in modern American society.
The American South may not be the first region that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “hotbed of tech entrepreneurship,” but, slightly misguided perceptions aside, it’s home to a diverse and growing collection of startups.
Here, we’re going to take a deep dive into the startup funding data for the region.
What is “the South?”
Just like it’s a common pastime for many city dwellers to argue about the precise boundaries of neighborhoods, there’s often some disagreement about the exact contours of the U.S.’s various regions. To quash rabble-rousing from the get-go, we’re using the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition
of “the South” on its official map of the United States. Below, we display a map of the states we’re going to look at today.
Much like barbecue, the South is not a monolithic concept. So to incorporate some regional flavor into the following analysis,
Continue reading "Here are the top states and cities for startups in the South"
On March 16, we learned that Facebook will be suspending Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) and its offshoot Cambridge Analytica. According to Facebook, a University of Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan was using Facebook Login in his “research app,” collecting data about its users, and passing it on to Cambridge Analytica, a third party. Cambridge Analytica, in turn, obtained personal information belonging to as many as 50 million Facebook users, through Kogan’s app, and without any express authorization from Facebook. This personal information was subsequently used to target voters and sway public opinion, in ways that benefited the then presidential candidate Trump.
In response to accusations that this constituted a data breach, Paul Grewal, Deputy General Counsel for Facebook claimed that –
“The claim that this is a data breach is completely false. Aleksandr Kogan requested and gained access to information from users who chose to sign up to his app, and
Continue reading "The Cambridge Analytica Debacle is not a Facebook “Data Breach.” Maybe It Should Be."