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FundersClub Weekly Newsletter - July 12, 2016

By Christopher Steiner  •  Aug 11, 2016

FundersClub Portfolio News

Shippo will be hosting its eighth marketplace dinner on Tuesday, August 23, 6 pm to 9 pm. It's an event where founders and executives who are building marketplaces can chat about their space's challenges and meet others who are looking to solve similar problems. Past dinners have included founders and executives from Airbnb, Upwork, eBay, Lyft, Uber, DogVacay and Instacart. RSVP to attend Marketplace Dinner #8

Instacart now delivers alcoholic beverages from two specialty retailers—Total Wine and Liquor Boy—in and around Minnesota's Twin Cities. The move comes just a week after Amazon began delivering alcohol in the area. Instacart now delivers alcohol from Total Wine, Liquor Boy around Twin Cities

LitBit CEO Scott Noteboom, former head of Apple's global infrastructure team, explains how his company uses machine learning and open source technology to improve data center performance, helping startups grow at a faster pace while also reducing costs. DCD Webscale: Eliminating silos with machine learning

Lawn Love has found growth where others have found failure, in the home services market, specifically for lawn care and yard work. The company matches consumers and lawn care professionals in an Uber-style marketplace, with algorithms doing the work. CEO Jeremy Yamaguchi says the company will reach profitability in the next six months. Is on-demand lawn care an Uber-sized business?

Boosted has a second generation electric skateboard that is more water resistant, with a better drivetrain and more flexibility for battery and charging options. WIRED: The Electric Skateboard Company That Would Take Over the World

Unocoin launched its iOS application for trading Bitcoin, a platform that is aimed at the Indian market. The app incorporates TouchID and a passcode for security, making it the first Bitcoin trading app in India offering biometric login features. Unocoin Launches Bitcoin Trading App for Apple Users

Placemeter is working with Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, D.C., among other cities, to determine how cyclists use their streets and where it's best to plan routes and allocate funds. Placemeter's video tracking system anonymizes the images of the bikers, walkers and drivers it records, and uses computer vision algorithms to track what kind of users are on what roadways and when. How cities use data to plan bike routes

Investor Thoughts

Hunter Walk of Homebrew writes that founders can spend 40% to 50% of their time making key hires. Knowing that, it's important for founders and startups to have a clear compensation framework and philosophy to help guide their process. Walk offers a well-thought-out guide on the topic.Compensation at Startups

Fred Destin of Accel Partners offers some guidelines to help startups avoid becoming the subject of a headline that ends up sullying the entire startup-VC industry. For starters, never miss a payroll and don't make grandiose claims you can't back up. Those companies that give us a bad name…

Benedict Evans of a16z writes that Apple and Google have achieved sufficient scale for their mobile ecosystems to be viable, and nobody else is close. At this point, changes in market share aren't very meaningful for these two companies, although Google enjoys 2.5x advantage in device count—which is a smaller multiple than many assumed. Platform wars: the final score

Steve Jurvetson of DFJ writes about his firm's experience with Nervana, which was just acquired by Intel, and why machine learning is of fundamental importance to every business over time. Intelligence Inside

Phin Barnes of First Round Capital writes that the best managers keep their priorities straight when beset by stress. Clarity of purpose and supporting the team is a core job requirement. Elegant Management

Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Capital writes about the high amount of energy required for companies to switch SaaS providers. The best sales teams find ways to reduce the amount of energy and effort required for the switch, and the best customer success teams find ways to increase it.Fighting And Leveraging Inertia In Sales

Founder and Operator Thoughts

Max Mullen of Instacart talks with FundersClub about getting Instacart off of the ground as a tiny company in a space dominated by multi-billion dollar consumer brands and retail chains. One of the keys has been building exactly what customers have asked for. Building a Customer-focused Grocery Delivery Startup with Max Mullen, co-founder at Instacart.

Steli Efti of CloserIQ says that startups often overpay to hire senior salespeople early in a bid to kick-start sales. The better move in many cases, she writes, is to hire salespeople based on their potential, not past experience. Startup Sales Managers: Stop Hiring Experienced Salespeople

Alex White of Next Big Sound writes about the importance of being deliberate and careful when shifting duties among co-founders or executives at a startup. Things that have found an equilibrium can be hazardous to disrupt. The Weight

Dan Kim of Basecamp comments on Marrisa Mayer's recent assertion (one that's been espoused by others) that she can tell what tech companies will be successful by examining who is working on the weekends. Kim finds the implied causal relationship—and that definition of success—to be dubious. Silicon Valley arrogance: “I can tell you which startups will succeed, without even knowing what they do”

Marc LaFountain, the first employee at Tumblr talks to Craig Cannon of Y Combinator about the early days of the blogging platform, from cold emailing David Karp, scaling the customer support team, and building a new office. He now works on Uber's EMEA support tools in Amsterdam.Employee #1: Tumblr

Chelsea Larsson and Sarah Nagel of Zendesk and Sprout Social offer advice on how to kindle organic word-of-mouth marketing by empowering great customers through collaboration, thought leadership and networking.How to build community partnerships: an interview with Sarah Nagel of Sprout Social

In Other News

Walmart acquired for $3 billion in a move to augment the web presence of the earth's largest retailer. The deal shows Walmart's willingness to take on Amazon and is a tacit admission that had fallen too far behind. Walmart Rewrites Its E-Commerce Strategy With $3.3 Billion Deal for

Twitter is looking to sublease 183,000 square feet of office space in its San Francisco headquarters building, in a sign of slowing growth and reduced staff. Brokerage data shows that the company is offering space that includes work stations for 1,416 employees at 1355 Market St. and One 10th St. Exclusive: Struggling Twitter lists over 183,000 square feet for sublease at its S.F. HQ

Monster has been acquired by Ranstad for $429 million, in a play that further consolidates the recruitment industry. The deal for the online job portal gives its shareholders a 64% premium on the previous close, but it's still a long fall from when Monster, which dates to the original dot.comera, was valued at more than $5 billion. Randstad buys Monster for $429M as recruitment consolidation continues

Many Google employees have found work in the federal government since 2008, notes a study by The Google Transparency Project, part of Campaign for Accountability. Twenty-two White House staffers have found work at Google during that time, and 31 Google employees have gone to work in the White House offices. Google employees have enjoyed revolving door during Obama administration

Amazon is hatching a wholesale overhaul of the existing home delivery infrastructure. And its plan may rely heavily on drones, even though that prospect has been dismissed by many in the past. NYTimes: Think Amazon’s Drone Delivery Idea Is a Gimmick? Think Again

Chinese web companies who want to compete globally are forced to largely ignore their home market if they seek success. Operating within China comes with so many idiosyncrasies that it's nearly impossible to present consumers with the same product at home and abroad. Chinese Tech Firms Forced to Choose Market: Home or Everywhere Else

Did You Know?

Humpback whales regularly foil the attacks of killer whales on other animals, such as seals, ocean sunfish and gray whales. Humpback whales have been witnessed intentionally interfering with orcas in the midst of their hunt 115 times by 54 different scientific observers. The whales' zeal for scuttling orca attacks is a global phenomenon, occurring from Antarctica to the North Pacific. Humpback whales around the globe are mysteriously rescuing animals from orcas