FundersClub Weekly Newsletter - June 23, 2016
FundersClub Portfolio News
AppZen raises $2.9 million in seed funding in a round led by Resolute Ventures with participation from Silicon Valley Bank, MasterCard, Bloomberg Beta and FundersClub. The company's software aims to curb expense report fraud through AI and reduce auditing costs by 80 percent in "Expense reporting startup AppZen raises $2.9 million."
LeTote lets its users borrow clothing and accessories for a flat fee of $59 a month. Wearers can hold on to clothing for as long as they like. It's a great option for bridesmaids' dresses and maternity clothes, according to InStyle.com in "Thanks to This Website, You Won't Be Completely Broke at the End of the Wedding Season."
Instacart brings another valuable grocery partner into its network, giving itself a more robust presence in the Manhattan market in "Instacart Expands Partnership With Key Food, Partnering With Food Emporium in Manhattan."
Labdoor warns consumers of gimmicky diets and supplements that can do more harm than good in "Six dangerous weight loss plans that should be avoided."
CodersClan adds major libraries of prefab coding modules, making its service more efficient and expanding the marketplace options for on-demand coding in "CodersClan acquires online code library Binpress."
ShipBob raises $4 million in series A funding to help ecommerce businesses ship out products at better rates more efficiently in "ShipBob raises $4 million to help small retailers ship goods like Amazon Prime."
Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures writes about "handing over the keys to the car and getting into the back seat," while Albert Wenger and Andy Weissman ascend to become managing partners at USV. Wilson isn't retiring, just shifting more future responsibility to others, and he offers some good perspective on the timelines and planning involved in putting together venture capital funds in "USV 2016."
Kyle Russell of Andreessen Horowitz: VR is popularly known as a technology that will allow people to escape into virtual worlds on solo missions. But its killer application will be in bringing far-away people together, delivering a closeness that humans haven't known without true proximity in "Why Virtual Reality Will Be the Most Social Computing Platform Yet."
Foundry Group's Brad Feld writes about how having people with experience scaling companies or teams in leadership positions makes a huge difference for rapidly growing startups in "A Scaling Magic Trick."
Jake Flomenberg of Accel explains why open source software has begun its takeover in the enterprise space, with projects such as Hadoop, Cassandra, Docker and Mule showing up in even the slowest-to-change companies' IT stacks in "The next wave in software is open adoption software."
Mahesh Vellanki of Redpoint Ventures deftly dissects the performance of internet stocks during the first half of 2016. Some companies and sectors have found the road quite positive, others have seen their stock price falter and, in some cases, crash. "This is how public internet stocks have performed in 2016."
Founder and Operator Thoughts
Jack Dorsey, CEO and cofounder of Twitter, writes about Twitter's commitment to machine learning, and its new acquisition of Magic Pony Technology, a London company that has developed novel machine learning techniques for visual processing. In other words: bots that know exactly what a given image portrays based just on the data held in its pixels, be it a monkey, a horse or the Alps. "Increasing our Investment in Machine Learning."
Ash Rust of SendHub tells founders how to best communicate with their investors to secure key introductions while making things easy for the investor—and keeping things courteous in “Bad Ways to Ask for Investor Help.”
Lincoln Murphy of Winning By Design says that too many company leaders get myopically focused on the initial sale and on closing deals, but they should be as fervent about the overall customer experience and their products' long-term relevance to buyers in "Visualizing the Importance of Customer Success."
Jeanette Head of Atomic Object argues that developers naturally have a lot of emotion and pride invested in the software they write, but that they need to know when to push their own solutions, when to use ones that come off the shelf, and when to respect the code of others in "How to Pick Your Battles on a Software Team."
Henry Ward of eShares offers some tips on how to be a better manager, germane advice for startup founders who find themselves commanding larger and larger teams for the first time in their careers in "A Manager's FAQ."
In Other News
Ev Williams became a billionaire by helping to create the free and open web. Now, he's betting against it. "Forest Gump of the Internet."
Mobile data traffic grew 60% from 2015 to 2016 and the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018. "Ericsson Mobility Report."
China tops the United States for the first time using a supercomputer running processors that were designed and built within China's borders. "China Tops U.S. in Supercomputers."
Did You Know?
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently discovered an asteroid that has been "caught in a little dance with earth" for almost a century, saysPaul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.The asteroid, 2016 HO3, has settled into a path determined by the gravities of the sun and earth, and will continue to bob and weave with our planet's own path hundreds of years into the future.