Party rounds symbolized the heyday of the startup seed market just last year. Called parties because of the number of investors who collaboratively financed seed rounds of startups, the lists became almost comically long as seed sizes ballooned and investor syndicates swelled with them. Recently, I have heard from founders that they are less interested in party rounds, but does the data support the caseages?
Last week, Facebook launched the messenger chatbot platform, which like Slack, Telegram and others, presents a big market opportunity for startups to innovate. In addition, the companies and products that determine how to most efficiently distribute their product on these new platforms will benefit from user curiosity and less competition, both of which result in lower cost-of-customer acquisition.
There many ways of measuring a SaaS company's efficiency - magic number, payback period on cost of customer acquisition, lifetime value to cost customer acquisition ratio, quick ratio. These metrics primarily focus on measuring efficiency in customer acquisition. But, a software company's true efficiency also have to include the cost to service contracts. A SaaS company's revenues are a collection of annuities, contracts that pay fees on an ongoing basis. And the goal of a subscription businesses is more than to acquire those streams, but to nurture and sustain them.
All new ideas are combinations of old ideas, but not all idea combinations are created equal," wrote Frans Johannsen. Mick Pearson designed the Eastgate office building in Harare, Zimbabwe based on techniques he observed termites employ to stabilize the internal temperature of their nests. Remarkably, the Eastgate maintains an ambient temperature between 73-78°F despite variances in external temperatures from 58° to 88°. Johannsen argues in his book that most innovation comes at the intersection of fields, and Pearson is just one example.
Daniel Kahneman wrote about his experiences with the inside/outside bias. Kahneman, a team of graduate students, and the Dean of the Hebrew University School of Education collaborated on curriculum for judgment and decision-making for high schools. At one point, Kahneman surveyed his team to estimate the amount of time remaining to complete project.
About one third of US startups that raise a seed round raise a Series A. The larger the seed investment, the greater the odds the company successfully raises the next round. A $500,000 seed round results in a series A 20% of the time, while $1.5M seed increases the chances to 30%, an increase of half. larger seed rounds enable early-stage companies to experiment more, hire more aggressively, recover from mistakes better and attain more of the milestones necessary to raise a series A.
The Future of Machine Intelligence is a free collection of 10 interviews machine learning experts filed by David Beyer. The interviews explain exactly where we are with the state-of-the-art, the challenges to advanced machine learning, and some of the applications.
Q1 venture capital investment remains steady relative to Q4 2015 at about $15 billion, but down from the near records attained in 2015. Over the last five years, seven of the twenty-nine quarters have reached or exceeded the $15 billion mark, all of them within the last two years. So, on a historical basis, venture capitalists are still investing at rates substantially above average.
There's a new class of company that wield data to create long-term competitive advantage. TheRealReal uses this morning's sales data to inform this afternoon's marketing campaigns. Hubspot motivates its sales teams not just with a target quota, but a blend of key sales metrics that reflect the strategic priorities of the company. Zendesk's data team educates and trains its employees to use data in meetings to prioritize key product management and marketing efforts.