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FundersClub Weekly Newsletter - January 26, 2017

By Grace Barr  •  Jan 26, 2017

FundersClub Portfolio News

EquipmentShare, the startup that helps contractors rent out their under-utilized equipment, or rent safety tested equipment that they need from a fellow contractor, has closed a $26 million Series B round in "EquipmentShare, the Airbnb of construction, raises $26 million."

AdmitHub, the developer of a conversational artificial intelligence platform for guiding students to and through college, raises $2.95 million in seed-stage financing, and will use the funds to expand and scale its platform by growing its engineering and sales teams in "Relay Ventures co-leads AdmitHub’s $2.95 mln seed financing."

Spendesk raises $2.2 million in funding, rebrands itself, and is about to launch mobile apps and corporate plastic cards to create a corporate spending solution in "Spendesk grabs $2.2 million for its next-gen corporate cards."

Slack unveils "Threads," a tool that allows users of its messaging app to start a side conversation connected to a specific message within a channel, with the hopes of proving increasing convenience for larger companies in "Slack Adds Threads To Popular Messaging Software In Pursuit Of Bigger Customers."

Thalmic Labs has hired Abhi Bhatt, a former executive with Under Armour, as its vice president of product experience, to lead the overall product story, definition, and execution of future products in "Thalmic Labs hires former Under Armour exec."

Investor Thoughts

Christopher Steiner of FundersClub comes up with three essential truths about the new realities for hardware startups after speaking with acute observers of the market, both investors and founders, in "The Best Hardware Startups Build Communities And Software."

Darshan Shankar of BigscreenJason Rosenthal of Lytro, and Chris Milk of Within chat with Kyle Russell of Andreessen Horowitz about the challenges, potential, and emotional power of the new technologies of VR and AR in "VR, AR, and Beyond: The New Medium of Human Experience."

Mark Leslie of the Stanford Graduate School of Business shares a framework that can bring a go-to-market strategy into focus and help startups smartly deploy limited resources when a product is first launched in "Leslie’s Compass: A Framework For Go-To-Market Strategy."

Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures shares how although Machine Learning was a tech buzzwords of 2016, he believes the hype is masking quite a bit of true technical innovation in "Is Machine Learning Overhyped?"

Semil Shah of Haystack Fund unpacks the key takeaways from Cisco's $3.7B acquisition of AppDynamics in "Unpacking Cisco’s Last-Minute Acquisition Of AppDynamics."

Nathan Benaich of Playfair Capital analyzes all aspects of the AI world, including opinions, research, financing and exits in "News in AI and machine learning."

David Beisel of NextView Ventures gives advice to founders on how to look at Q4's financing results, as they often look inherently different than Q3 and Q1’s in "Making Sense of Startups’ Q4 Results."

Founder and Operator Thoughts

Joe Waltman of VetPronto (FC Portfolio) shares his journey of starting his co-founder search from scratch in "How I found my technical co-founder."

Andrew Chen of Uber shares his keynote talk on the future of growth, and breaks it down to a few key factors that will continue to work in the future in "What’s next in growth?"

Ali Rowghani of Y Combinator discusses the three foundational characteristics of great leaders in "How Do You Measure Leadership?"

Martin Zinkevich of Google shares their best practices for implementing machine learning in "Rules of Machine Learning: Best Practices for ML Engineering."

Will Yakowicz of Inc Magazine chats with Mikkel SvaneAlexander Aghassipour, and Morten Primdahl of Zendesk about their experience of bringing a foreign-born startup to Wall Street in "How These Founders Built a $2.1 Billion Business by Ignoring Investors' Advice."

Ryan Broshar of Techstars shares insights from their panel at CES of industry players discussing product-based startups' oftentimes tumultuous path to market in "Finding Your Path to Market for Consumer Products."

Jason Cohen of WP Engine highlights that it is the building of success, not the result of that building, that matters in "The only way to guarantee startup success."

Eric Stromberg of Oyster puts together a matrix that outlines various consumer markets as well as tactics a company can take to bring a unique product to the market in "The Startup Idea Matrix."

In Other News

Apple Inc. is set to join the Partnership on AI, an artificial intelligence research group that includes Inc.Alphabet Inc.’s GoogleFacebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in "Apple Set to Join Amazon, Google, Facebook in AI Research Group."

Google Maps is now using “historical parking data” to calculate a parking difficulty score at your final destination, which will be displayed in Google Maps’ directions card as “Limited,” “Medium,” or “Easy,” depending on the parking situation in that area in "Google Maps will now tell you how bad the parking is at your destination."

Did You Know?

Did you know that the first pointing device for a computer was invented in the early 60's, and it was called the X-Y Position Indicator for Display Systems? Source