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The Accel team is coming to Disrupt Berlin

Every time Accel invests in a startup, it’s an instant positive sign in the startup community. The venture capital firm has a rich history with decades of investments in successful startups. That’s why we’re excited to have four partners at Accel on stage at Disrupt Berlin. Philippe Botteri, Sonali De Rycker, Luciana Lixandru and Harry Nelis will all relocate their partner meeting to our stage. Accel is a different VC firm for many reasons. First, while the firm started in Silicon Valley, the team bet early on the European startup scene, back in 2001. With an office in London, the team keeps an eye on the entire continent for investment opportunities. The firm has invested in Deliveroo, BlaBlaCar, Supercell, Spotify and so many others. With such a good track record, it’s clear that some recent investments are also going to become massive companies — nobody has realized it just yet. In November, we will have four Accel partners on stage to discuss the firm’s investment thesis, each partner’s current obsessions and their collective thoughts on the startup scene in Europe. It’s going to be a great way to hear the granularity of a team with strong beliefs. I’m sure they don’t always agree on everything, but somehow they manage to invest together as a firm. TechCrunch is coming back to Berlin to talk with the best and brightest people in tech from Europe and the rest of the world. In addition to fireside chats and panels, new startups will participate in the Startup Battlefield Europe to win the coveted cup. Grab your ticket to Disrupt Berlin before August 1st as prices will increase after that. The conference will take place on November 29-30. Philippe Botteri, Partner, Accel Philippe Botteri focuses on SaaS, enterprise and marketplace businesses. Philippe led Accel’s investments in DocuSign (IPO), PeopleDoc, Qubit, Algolia, BlaBlaCar, Doctolib and Zenaton. He also works closely with the team at Fiverr and CrowdStrike. Prior to joining Accel, Philippe was with Bessemer, where he worked with the firm’s SaaS and Ad Tech investments including Cornerstone OnDemand (public), Eloqua (public) and Criteo (public). Philippe…

Why we’ve been cutting really large follow-on checks

Photo of Carousell’s founders giving Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups, a T-shirt as VC initiation back in 2013 when 500 Startups invested in Carousell’s first round of financing. 500 has ambitions to be the most global Silicon Valley VC firm and invest in companies at the early stages. However, I wanted to take time to explain the larger-than-usual follow-on checks that we have been cutting. Recently, 500 wrote a $20 million follow-on check into Singapore-based Carousell’s recent $85M Series C. Earlier in the year, we led and filled an entire Series B of $13.3M for one of Japan’s hottest startups, SmartHR. We have historically doubled down on many of our top investments, but not at these check sizes. … Read More The post Why we’ve been cutting really large follow-on checks appeared first on 500 Startups.

Jina Choi, SF Regional Director of the SEC, is coming to Disrupt to talk ICOs and more

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency responsible for protecting investors and maintaining fair and orderly functioning of our securities markets, has 11 regional offices, including in Miami, New York, Boston and Chicago. None has quite the workload as the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, where a major area of focus in recent years has been investor fraud in pre-IPO companies, particularly the many startups that in an earlier era would have either have gone public or else out of business, but which today linger as privately held outfits because there’s so much money sloshing around. Among the companies to find themselves in the SEC’s sights in recent years is HR software outfit Zenefits and its founder, Parker Conrad; they were fined $1 million last October as part of a settlement over charges that they’d misled investors. In March, the online personal finance company Credit Karma also settled SEC charges; it had been accused of unlawfully offering securities to its employees — then failing to provide them with timely financial statements and risk disclosures. Of course, the best-known SEC case to date has centered on the blood-testing company Theranos, which was charged with massive fraud in March, along with the company’s founder, Elizabeth Holmes, and its former president, Sunny Balwani. Leading the charge in each of these cases and many more: Jina Choi, a graduate of Oberlin and Yale Law School who worked as a lawyer for the Justice Department in Washington before heading to San Francisco and the SEC’s enforcement division in 2000. Five years ago, Choi was promoted to director of that office, where she has since overseen enforcement and examinations in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, despite critics who believe the SEC should keep its eye on public companies alone. (“If no one is policing private markets, that’s a problem,” Choi said at a public forum in May.) In an age of initial coin offerings, cryptocurrencies and mushrooming numbers of blockchain-related projects, Choi and her colleagues have their hands particularly full, so you can imagine how excited we are that Choi is coming to Disrupt to discuss…

Lyft goes biking, Airbnb is going public (eventually), big money for software robots and Juul

 Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we were back in the studio with Connie Loizos and myself hanging out with Jai Das, a managing director at Sapphire Ventures. Our beloved Matthew Lynley was off this week, but he’ll be back for the next episode. This week we had an excellent list of things to get to, first of which was Lyft’s latest shopping run. This time Lyft accreted to itself Motivate, a bike-sharing company that operates various programs in cities like New York City and San Francisco. The context for the transaction is threefold. First, Lyft just raised a bundle of money for effectively diddly dilution. Second, Uber bought Jump and there is no FOMO in the market today like ridesharing FOMO. And third, scooters now lurk in the background of any and every ridesharing conversation, so the big shops are on a bit of defense. The sum is that Uber and Lyft now own bike companies, which feels a bit 2017. But moving along Unicorn Row we quickly found ourselves at the door of Airbnb, which is prepping for a 2019-2020 IPO and a change to its personnel comp cadence, the latter due to its age and a market trend that Das noted concerned employee comp and shareholder dilution. In other news, Airbnb needs a CFO, so if you are in the market, that’s who to call. Next up was Automation Anywhere’s epic $250 million Series A, which brought the software process-automation company to a valuation of $1.8 billion. The firm helps companies execute repetitive software tasks at a fraction of the cost of having humans click the buttons. And we wrapped with Juul, everyone’s favorite e-cigarette company that has simply beautiful financials. Whether it’s ethical is something that we spent a moment talking about. So fire up your vape or just hit play and we’ll be right back in seven days. Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.

Joseph Lubin, Amanda Gutterman and Sam Cassatt from Consensys to speak at Disrupt SF

There is perhaps no firm that has done as much to promote the adoption of Ethereum as the dominant cryptocurrency platform for actual product development as Consensys. Founded by Ethereum Foundation co-founder Joe Lubin, Consensys has emerged as an investor, accelerator, educator and product developer in its own right in little more than three years that it has been in existence. A Princeton-educated roboticist and autonomous vehicle researcher, Lubin has become a billionaire through his bet on Ethereum as the cryptocurrency that would win the hearts and minds of developers. And with Consensys he’s built an empire that spans the globe. From its headquarters in Brooklyn, Consensys now has operations, offices and partnerships in Ireland, Israel, and Singapore, and the global expansion shows no sign of slowing down. That’s why we’re absolutely thrilled to have Joe Lubin, Chief Marketing Officer Amanda Gutterman, and Chief Strategy Officer Sam Cassatt join us on the Disrupt SF stage. Nothing summarizes Lubin’s ambitions for Ethereum better than this comment on the transformative power that he sees in the cryptocurrency. “We are all passionately building the decentralized world wide web on which economic, social, and political systems will be built going forward.” A short and sweet overview of the @ConsenSys organism from @EtherealSummit at the @knockdowncenter in May. https://t.co/8DGdiyu29E — Joseph Lubin (@ethereumJoseph) June 19, 2018 Lubin, Gutterman and Cassatt join a world-class agenda, with speakers like Brian Armstrong, Kirsten Green, Reid Hoffman, and Marty Chavez. Tickets to the show, which runs September 5-7, are available here.

ISAI closes new $175 million fund

French venture capital firm ISAI just raised a new $175 million fund (€150 million) called ISAI Expansion II. This fund is designed for later stage investments. The firm says that it managed to raise this fund in less than three months. This is a growth fund and the team plans to invest between $6 million and $35 million per deal (between €5 million and €30 million). ISAI first started with a seed fund back in 2010. The company raised a $41 million fund (€35 million) and invested in BlaBlaCar shortly after that. The firm has raised a growth fund and another seed fund since then. If you include today’s new fund, ISAI has raised over $350 million in total (€300 million). So ISAI Expansion II is by far the biggest fund to date. Limited partners include dozens of successful tech entrepreneurs as well as institutional partners. Many existing investors invested once again in ISAI’s new fund. Some entrepreneurs joined the list for the first time. With the previous ISAI Expansion fund, the firm invested in nine companies over five years. And ISAI already sold its shares in two companies, Hospimedia and Labelium. ISAI also says that it can help entrepreneurs using owner buy-out transactions. By creating a holding company, this type of operations lets entrepreneurs cash out, buy shares from existing minor investors and work with a new investor. More interestingly, ISAI doesn’t necessarily want to focus on Paris-based tech startups. The firm is also looking for investments in more traditional companies that aren’t yet taking advantage of digital opportunities.

Doug Leone, the global managing partner of powerhouse Sequoia Capital, is coming to Disrupt

Sequoia Capital has been at the top of its game in the U.S. for decades, thanks to early investments in Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn and PayPal, as well as, more recently, its stakes in the messaging startup WhatsApp, the payments company Stripe and the video conferencing unicorn company Zoom. Yet unlike a lot of top-tier firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia is far from reliant on the Bay Area companies for huge returns. Instead, a dozen years ago, anticipating that the most impactful tech ideas could come from anywhere and be built around the world, the firm founded Sequoia China and Sequoia India, assembling local teams to invest in startups and help founders build their companies. That strategy is now paying off, big time. As we reported earlier this week, Sequoia currently makes more than 50 cents from every dollar returned to its investors from its overseas bets. Among the many companies Sequoia Capital China alone has funded: Meituan-Dianping, the group-discount service that sells locally found products and retail services and just filed to go public in Hong Kong; Ele.me, the food ordering company that sold a controlling stake in its business to Alibaba in April for $9.5 billion; DJI, the drone company, which was reported to be raising $1 billion in new funding this spring at a $15 billion valuation; VIP.com, the commerce platform that went public in 2012 and currently boasts a $7.2 billion market cap; and Didi, the mobile transportation giant that’s in a race against its U.S. rival Uber to conquer the global ride-hailing market. To learn more about the new reality facing Silicon Valley startups — that competition is no longer next door, it’s global — we’re thrilled to announce that Sequoia Managing Partner Doug Leone is coming to Disrupt for a fireside chat. Leone oversees the firm’s global operations with Roelof Botha, who runs Sequoia’s U.S. business, and Neil Shen, the founder and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China, and he knows better than nearly anyone in Silicon Valley how the investing and technology landscapes are evolving — and what founders globally should be mindful of as they build the next legendary company. Leone also knows…

Lies, damn lies and crypto analytics

For the past 12 years I’ve followed the rise of the startup — defined as a small business with global ambitions — from my perch at TechCrunch. During that period I watched business reporting change from a sleepy backwater on the back of the Sports section into a juggernaut, a force that controls the global conversation. Why? Because business reporting became war reporting, and the battles fought were between VCs, businesses and ideas that changed the world. In that period, VCs rose from glorified bank tellers to rock stars. Incubators popped up to socialize nervous founders and turn them into capital F Founders and the path for startups became a codified journey from failure to success. Now we’re seeing the same thing happen in ICOs. But something is wrong. The startups coming out of the ICO craze aren’t being judged on the character of their founders, on their technologies or their probability for success. They are being judged, quite simply, on quantitative metrics that interrogate a token with one question: “When Lambo?” This is the wrong approach. Token-based startups must receive the same level of socialization and scrutiny as the old VC-based startup vetting process. But something is different, and it’s an important difference. In the old VC model a group of men — and it was mostly men for a long time — would stand in judgement over an idea. If any number of arbitrary points of risk appeared they would smile and say “No” to the founder, sending them down the road for another “No.” Unless you were plugged in professionally, went to Stanford, or had your own cash, seed to even late-stage investment wasn’t available and the resulting “valley of death” of undercapitalization sunk countless startups. Now, however, something new is afoot. While it’s always nice to look at tokens in comparison with other tokens, this sort of quantitative masturbation can easily hide a multitude of sins. Due diligence on token-based companies must be done, but it must be done through the wisdom of crowds. Instead of trying to impress one dude in a fleece vest and…

Innovators podcast @ Stanford

A fun interview at Stanford about some old things and new ones. https://soundcloud.com/innovatorsradio/s1e5-steve-blank-lean-startup Founders 2:15: Founders and dysfunctional families 3:55: Operating in chaos 7:18: Mentorship is a two-way street 11:50: Founders are artists 14:03: Failure=experience 17:27: Rules for raising a family if you’re a founder Startups 19:25: Startups are not smaller versions of large companies 22:03: How I-Corps and H4X were born 26:25: Your idea is not a company 31:19: Why the old way of building startups no longer works 32:53: Origin of the Lean Startup 34:24 Why the Lean Startup Changes Everything in the Harvard Business Review 35:28: How innovation happens Company/Government Innovation 41:37: Innovation is different in companies and gov’t agencies 42:35 The Innovation Pipeline 43:30  Deliverable products and services not activities 44:25  GE & Procter and Gamble and Lean 46:44: Startups disrupting things by breaking the law Government Innovation 51:12: Fighting continuous disruption with continuous innovation 52:08: How governments innovate 53:58: The U.S. government goes Lean 56:00: Customer Development versus Design Thinking 57:54: Innovation from the battlefield to the boardroom Powered by WPeMatico

10 Investor Approaches To Avoid When You Need Funding

Many new entrepreneurs are so excited by their latest idea that they can’t resist contacting every investor they know, assuming the investor will be equally excited and want to contribute immediately. Others will work hard on a business plan, and then mail it indiscriminately to every potential investor they can find on the Internet. Both of these approaches are a waste of your time and theirs. The best professional investors receive dozens of proposals a day, so they are conditioned to look for quantitative data, rather than passion, for credibility and potential. They also look for entrepreneurs they know from past experience and warm introductions, or for evidence that you have previously built a successful startup, and sold your last one for maybe $800 million. If you are not in that rare category of known and proven entrepreneurs, you should avoid the following list of my top ten turnoffs that I have personally experienced as an angel investor. These will put your proposal in the circular file, and even future good opportunities from you may go to the bottom of my list: “Give me a call to hear about an opportunity that can’t fail.” Teasing or spamming an investor is not the way to his pocketbook. Also suggesting that they check out your website or video and tell you what they think will not likely peak their curiosity. Every pitch should start with a concise statement of the problem and your innovative solution. “Attached is a copy of my full business plan for your review.” Too much detail at first contact is just as much of a turnoff as no information. The first page of the business plan better be an executive summary which gives the investor a taste of the financials, as well as opportunity, competition, and key executives. “I don’t have a business plan, but the technology is disruptive.” Investors are buying part of the business, not the product or service. They only want a quick overview of the product, not detailed features and patent secrets. If you haven’t yet finalized the business model, cost projections, and customer…

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