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FundersClub Weekly Newsletter - March 9, 2017

By Grace Barr  •  Mar 9, 2017

FundersClub Portfolio News

FundersClub launches Catalyst, our founder facing platform with a focus on team, and we release the first tool, Fire, which enables non-technical team-members to report bugs on GitHub by simply sending an email, and we are set to release Standup and Reports soon in "FundersClub experiments with the full-service online VC model at scale."

Instacart announces that they have raised $400 million in a Series D financing in "We’ve Raised $400M to Grow Instacart" and founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta discusses what this means for the company in "Instacart CEO talks about his $3.4 billion company."

Goldbely, the specialty food delivery service, has closed $10 million in Series A funding and plans on using the new funding to expand its operations and technology teams in San Francisco and New York in "Goldbely raises a $10M Series A to ship you food from America’s most popular restaurants."

Coinbase has recently hit 6 million users, a new milestone for the company, and now has over 13 million wallets, serving 45,000 different merchants and 9,000 developer apps in "Popular Bitcoin Wallet & Exchange Coinbase Hits 6 Million Users."

Lauren Schulte of The Flex Company explains that they have been on a mission to confront discrepancies in women's health from the get-go, and joins others with the checkout code 'NASTYWOMAN' to offer a month's worth of next-generation, sex-capable tampon alternatives in "In March, The Password For Free Birth Control And Next-Gen Tampons Is 'NASTYWOMAN'."

GitLab integrates with SmartBear Software for their newly released version of Collaborator, giving the ultimate flexibility for development teams to leverage a single peer code and document review tool across teams, regardless of the repository or version control tools they are using in "SmartBear Announces New Collaborator Integration with GitLab and Enhanced Integrations with GitHub and Bitbucket.

Rainforest, an AI-powered Crowdtest Platform built for agile development, now makes test videos available for every test result as a part of their standard product suite so every Rainforest customer now has access to videos of test execution in "Watch Rainforest Test Video Recordings for Faster Debugging."
AdmitHub, an edtech startup which builds conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to guide students in college, releases the results of a study with Georgia State University that examined the efficacy of 'smart text messaging' in the summer melt rate (students who accept offers of admission but do not enroll in fall) and they experienced their best enrollment results in school history with a 21.4% lower melt rate and a 3.9% higher enrollment rate in "Georgia State University Reduced Summer Melt 21.4% and Increased Enrollment 3.9% Using the AdmitHub Virtual Assistant."

Abacus shares some of the capabilities they’ve recently added, making Abacus more powerful when dealing with items in bulk, more flexible with expenses after submission, and more user-friendly in "What We Launched In February.

Aircall is one of six vendors that Zoho has chosen to feature in their partner spotlight and to work more closely with after their Zoho PhoneBridge Platform launch, which offers robust APIs that make the development process fast and hassle-free in "Zoho Unveils Zoho PhoneBridge Platform."

Investor Thoughts

Christopher Steiner of FundersClub reaches out to some of the women whom FC has funded to get their thoughts on what's challenged them in tech, and what and who has inspired them, along with their most cherished accomplishment in light of International Women's Day in "Female Founders: A Growing Force."

Jerrod Engelberg and Kevin Lee of FundersClub dive into whether seed stage companies should raise a convertible debt round or an equity round, and discuss these two common ways young startup companies raise capital and look at what you are getting yourself into by doing so in "Transparent VC, Episode 3: To Raise with Convertible Debt or Equity, That is the Question."

Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz argues that culture is the collective behavior of an organization and whether or not you go about creating one, you’re going to get one anyway in "Culture and Revolution."

Mark Suster and Chang Xu of Upfront Ventures summarize their annual LP survey and find that they are at their most optimistic phase about venture since the great recession of 2007–2009 and more in "Why the LP Outlook is Good for Venture and Startups in 2017–2020."

Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures shares a collection of 11 features that is a useful resource to guide product managers on the key aspects of an enterprise product and priorities as a company transitions from serving the mid-market in "A Product Manager's Guide To Moving Up Market."

CB Insights summarizes that in 2016, bitcoin/blockchain and insurance tech categories reached highs in Q1, while the payments space saw relatively consistent funding activity in "How Bitcoin, Payments, and Insurance Tech Fared In 2016."

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures acknowledges the challenge of building diverse teams for many small tech companies, particularly in the early stages, but the longer they wait, the harder it gets in "Gender Diversity."

Jennifer Lum of Rough Draft Ventures asks a list of prominent angel investors to shed light on how the process works from their end of table in "How Angel Investments Are Made."

Founder and Operator Thoughts

Dalton Caldwell of Y Combinator answers questions submitted on Whale including the product categories he is most interested in right now, advice to entrepreneurs building content businesses on the internet, and more in "Dalton Caldwell’s Whale AMA."

Steve Blank of Lean Startup discusses how making excuses instead of producing timely deliverables means not supporting the mission of the company (generate revenue and profit), and diminishes credibility and integrity in "The No Excuses Culture."

Zoe Schlag of UnLtd USA highlights that under specific conditions, venture capital can be a good fit for a social venture if it doesn't put your mission at risk in "Is Venture Capital Right for Social Ventures?"

Claire Lew of Know Your Company describes how using the word “advice” rather than "feedback" can unlock more honest results in "Unlock honest feedback with this one word."

Thomas Oppong of All Top Startups explains habits you should cut to help you take control and start accomplishing almost everything you set out to do on any given day in "This Explains Why You’re Not as Productive as You Want to be."

Quincy Larson of Free Code Camp discusses 3 ways that Uber, Volkswagen and Zenefits all manipulated working around the law in order to operate in "What do Uber, Volkswagen and Zenefits have in common? They all used hidden code to break the law."

Andrew Ettinger previously of Product Hunt shares what he thought he knew before joining an early stage startup and highlights how that changed after 16 months in "Before & After: Life at a Booming Startup."

In Other News

Uber Technologies Inc. will end the practice of showing fake versions of its app to government officials suspected of conducting sting operations on drivers, a program sometimes referred to as "Greyball," which blocks users who the company believes are in violation of its terms of service agreement in "Uber Will Stop Using ‘Greyball’ Program to Block Government Officials."

IBM is reading and writing data to a single atom, which may be a more symbolic than practical advance right now, but shows a working example of atomic data storage, orders of magnitude smaller than state of the art techniques in "Storing data in a single atom proved possible by IBM researchers."

Did You Know?

Did you know Switzerland eats the most chocolate equating to 10 kilos per person per year?