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FundersClub Weekly Newsletter - August 17, 2016

By Christopher Steiner  •  Aug 18, 2016

FundersClub Portfolio News

Flexport has commenced operations from its new hub in Hong Kong, giving the company excellent reach into Asia from one of the busiest cargo hubs in the world. U.S.-based online forwarder Flexport expands to Hong Kong launched its real-time analytics service for digital publishers and brands on Tuesday. Data Pipeline was created in response to an industry call for direct access to data for engineers, analysts, and data launches ‘Data Pipeline’ for real-time analytics

PocketSuite has closed a $1.6 million funding round. The business, part of the winter 2016 batch at Y Combinator, provides small businesses and sole proprietors easy-to-use software for scheduling, invoicing and tracking clients. PocketSuite Emerges With $1.6M to Help Gig Workers

Investor Thoughts

Christopher Steiner of FundersClub writes about how founders can automate some of the tasks involved in building their startup. Automating a regular duty requires extra bandwidth early on, but allows for more product iteration and innovation later. It's something that should be second nature for technical founders. Founders' Guide to Automation

Ekin Oflazer of Spark Capital writes that the value of exploring decreases over time, for individuals, while the value in exploiting what we already know increases as we run out of time. That relationship holds true for going out to eat, as well as investing—and for the people who participated in the Brexit vote. Slot machines, retirement homes, and Brexit: applications of probability theory’s ‘Explore and Exploit’

Maia Heymann and Ash Egan of Converge Venture Partners write that major corporations have been discussing the value and potential of distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain for some time, but outside of the financial sector, big companies have been slow to act. Is Blockchain Adoption Gaining Momentum in the Enterprise?

Mark Cranney, Martin Casado, and Scott Kupor of a16z chat about why many technical startup founders need to charge more for their products. That process starts by building more perceived value into an application, something that can come naturally for category-creating businesses.Pricing, Pricing, Pricing

Brad Feld of Foundry Group writes that founders can effect major changes by pursuing improvements 2% at a time. From raising prices, to paying caterers to buying computer equipment, look to optimize everything by 2%. One 2% change won't be transformational—but a bunch of them can be. The 2% Change

Michael Seibel of Y Combinator writes that startups should stay focused on servicing the users for which its product was created, rather than allowing time and effort to be hijacked by edge cases who want the product to conform to their needs. Users You Don't Want

Founder and Operator Thoughts

Sam Laber of Datanyze writes on Y Combinator's The Macro about the chosen tools of YC companies, from their marketing and CMS software, to their email and bulk email platforms. For instance, 55% of YC companies utilize something on AWS, whereas only 6% are on Rackspace. YC Tech Stacks

Rose Marcario of Patagonia makes a trenchant case for companies to provide their employees on-site childcare. The costs aren't as high as many suspect, thanks to generous tax benefits, she writes, and the benefits go further, to things like employee retention, morale and loyalty. The practice also results in more women in management positions. Patagonia's CEO Explains How To Make On-Site Child Care Pay For Itself

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman of Zenger/Folkman write that while most people believe they are superior listeners, just as they believe they're superior drivers, many of us are not. Good listening goes far beyond being silent and nodding along while others talk. Good listeners make suggestions, and build a cooperative kind of conversation. HBR: What Great Listeners Actually Do

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook talks with Sam Altman of Y Combinator in a video podcast at YC's The Macro. Zuckerberg covers a lot of topics, from how psychology courses in college helped him as a programmer, to why building an innovative culture is all about building learning into processes as early as possible. How To Build The Future

Jessica Mah of Indinero tells 90seconds that SaaS founders need to be patient with their businesses, and avoid rushing their product or forcing things. Comparing your own growth to others is often not productive.Jessica Mah Co-Founder & CEO, Indinero – Be patient, don’t be in a rush

In Other News

Dropbox has sought out meetings with advisers to discuss a 2017 IPO. The company faces questions about its past $10 billion valuation and Box's lackluster stock market performance, but it may be buoyed by the recent success of Twilio's public shares. Dropbox Is in Talks With Advisers for Possible 2017 IPO

Uber is rolling out a fleet of self-driving Volvo XC90s in Pittsburgh this month. The bigger idea, of course, is to eventually replace the company's 1 million drivers. For now, the Pennsylvania vehicles will be staffed with a human to keep watch on the SUVs. Uber’s First Self-Driving Fleet Arrives in Pittsburgh This Month

Twitch, part of Amazon, is acquiring Curse, which operates a well-trafficked collection of databases and guide websites for video games. Founded in 2006, Curse boasts more than 30 million visitors a month across its portfolio. Terms for the deal were undisclosed. Twitch is acquiring popular video game community and software maker Curse

The NSA may have been hacked, some experts have concluded, after a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers released what it claims to be code belonging to the NSA. The code has been identified by some genuine NSA code used to spy on other governments' cyber activities. ‘Shadow Brokers’ Leak Raises Alarming Question: Was the N.S.A. Hacked?

BMW has big plans for its line of electric vehicles. It plans replacements for the i3 and i8 by 2022. The new i8 may include a 750-horspower drivetrain and a 300-mile range. Full self-driving capabilities are expected by 2025.BMW’s EV roadmap detailed, includes full autonomy by 2025

Did You Know?

Physicists may have found a fifth force of nature. The recent possible discovery of a new subatomic particle may provide evidence of a fifth force of nature, adding to gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak nuclear forces. Jonathan Feng, of the University of California Irvine, said: "This would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter." Physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature