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FundersClub Weekly Newsletter - July 7, 2016

By Christopher Steiner  •  Jul 7, 2016

FundersClub Portfolio News

Flexport's Jan van Casteren, VP Europe, talks with the Irish Examiner about Flexport's aim to disrupt the $1 trillion international shipping industry.Irish Examiner

Instacart has built a team of data scientists who are building algorithms to optimize its shopping workforce. The effort has reduced the time required to fulfill an average order by 40%, helping the company become gross margin positive. MIT Technology Review

Aircall is bringing its mobile apps on iOS and Android out of beta. The company's applications allow users to create virtual numbers in different countries around the world, and to share them among a team for customer service or sales platforms. Aircall launches mobile apps for its cloud phone system for teams

Bluesmart's new carry-on luggage bag combines high-end looks with the ability to track the bag from a mobile application using the bag's built-in cellular transmitter. The bag also has a built-in scale and an auto-locking feature. I traveled with a smart carry-on and I’m never using a ‘dumb’ bag again

Bitso, which connects Mexico's traditional banking infrastructure to the new digital era of Bitcoin and blockchain for international payments, won SWIFT's Latin America Regional FinTech startup competition, being named the No. 1 FinTech startup in the region. Bitso wins SWIFT's Latin America FinTech Startup Competition

Investor Thoughts

Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures writes that founders should sometimes resist the urge to raise as much money as possible. Cash can bring comfort to founders but it can also lead to unnecessarily high burn rates and high valuations that can hamstring founders when trying to raise subsequent rounds. Why Raising Too Much Money Can Harm Your Startup

Brad Feld of Foundry Group details how founders can undermine themselves and their employees by trying to keep their fingers on too many things and taking on too much responsibility. The Responsibility Glitch

Scott Kupor of a16z writes about the vexing issues related to the current 90-day window that departing employees have to exercise stock options and some of the possible solutions to that problem. The Lack of Options for (Startup Employees’) Options

Tim Brady of Y Combinator talks about writing Yahoo's business plan, leaving Harvard Business School early, creating the banner ad and the differences between founders and early employees. A conversation with Tim Brady, Yahoo’s first employee and current YC partner

Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, writes about how Pittsburgh can best continue to remake itself into a startup hub. He was dubious at the prospect of this happening at first, but the burgeoning scene of innovative restaurants in the city made him change his mind. How To Make Pittsburgh A Startup Hub

Founder and Operator Thoughts

Chris Savage of Wistia details the advantages of operating a company that's not totally beholden to venture capital investment and the growth expectations that come with it. How Wistia Grows by Taking the Time to Coast

Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, writes about how he often sees non-technical founders spinning their wheels while looking for technical help or ways they can outsource the building of their product. The better plan, he says, is to jump in and get dirty. Founders will learn more and eventually build something more attractive to technical cofounder types. 3 reasons you shouldn't outsource your startup, and what to do instead

Danny Page, a developer and data analyst, cogently explains why people shouldn't treat information from Google Trends as clean data—because it's not. It has to be couched in the context of its timeline and its subject. Stop Using Google Trends

Chai Mishra of Movebutter writes that your product is more than its utility—it's also about how it makes users feel. Your product and the space it's in will evoke emotions in users, and you want to trigger the good ones. What your users really think of you

Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures writes that founders should ignore cold emails from random venture capitalists, as they almost never lead to productive outcomes. VC Cold Email Outreach: “The Only Winning Move is Not to Play”

In Other News

Facebook is changing how its algorithm serves up content to users to put more weight on content produced and shared by friends and family, and less on posts from publishers. This will result in fewer publisher posts being seen in the news feeds of Facebook's 1.65 billion users, which is likely to greatly curb traffic to publisher's sites. The New York Times

Twitter is delving into the VR/AR space, building on its recent acquisition of Magic Pony Technologies. The company hired Alessandro Sabatelli to be its director of VR and AR. Sabatelli is a former designer at Apple who helped create the iTunes music visualizer. Twitter Dives Into AR and VR, Hires Ex-Apple Designer To Lead New Team

Artificial Intelligence still isn't technically a reality, but methods within its discipline, such as neural networking, have rapidly gained traction during the last several years, which has sparked excitement among people in the field and its observers. From not working to neural networking

Google, Tesla, Toyota and others approach self-driving cars differently. Google hopes to push out autonomous vehicle fleets in urban areas no sooner than 2019, while Toyota and others seek to make systems that aren't autonomous, but keep humans from making fatal driving errors. Tesla and Google Take Different Roads to Self-Driving Car

Did You Know?

Frigate birds can stay aloft for up to two months without landing, according to a new report in the July 1 issue of Science. The large seabirds often fly 250 miles in a single flight, and are adept at exploiting winds and temperature gradients in the atmosphere to help them along. Frigate birds fly nonstop for months