This here is the must-read piece of the year for anyone into building consumer web startups.
Although it takes a hard, critical look at Tilt and James Beshara in particular (one of the best people I have ever met) - the key takeaway here is when James, with the backing of YC, a16z, being a Time magazine 30 under 30, having a viral product, with over $67 million in fundraising (at a $375 million valuation at the time) couldn't do it to the point where the startup ended up in a fire sale for $12 million - what are the lessons here which others can derive ? How do you balance growth with a viable business model ? Who is giving you critical, unflinching, non-filtered advice, and are you able to listen ?
If this had worked out, he would have been hailed as the next Steve Jobs. But it didn't, so Fast Company here is tearing into him and making him a symbol of "such" Silicon Valley startups. It is unfortunate to watch but this is a bitter pill. There is something here to learn.
-- "IT’S NOT SHOWTIME, IT’S BRO TIME"
"Above all, they agree—and Beshara himself concurs—that the young CEO had bought into the Silicon Valley dictum that company culture should be paramount.
“The thing I love most, that I get reenergized every day by, is the people,” Beshara says in a 2015 video. On big software launch days, he made a tradition of wearing a “shipping”-themed costume to rally the troops—a spacesuit on one occasion, a FedEx uniform on another.
Sometimes, though, Beshara let the fun and games become an end in itself.
“I was in a meeting with him once,” says one former team member. “I could just tell he wasn’t paying attention. I said, Hey, if you don’t have the mindshare to focus, we can reconvene tomorrow. ‘I’m 20% here, and 80% out there,’” Beshara replied, pointing to the door, the staffer recalls. “He walked out of the office [where we were meeting] and started throwing a football around with some of his friends.”" ... See MoreSee Less
Wall Street Journal article today about steady stream of failures expected amongst previously well-funded startups in the US. According to this article, there are 216 such startups which raised over $50 million and have not raised money again or been acquired since 2015 which could be in such a tough spot.
"..investors are staying away from scores of well-funded startups that once looked like relatively safe bets, forcing these companies to fight for survival as they burn through their stockpiles of cash and scramble for new money or buyers.
“They’re like the walking dead,” said David Cowan, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, who expects a steady stream of failures."
"In 2014 and 2015, more than 5,000 U.S. tech startups collectively raised about $75 billion, according to Dow Jones VentureSource—the largest amount in a two-year period since the dot-com boom.
Much of that money went to a small share of tech startups: 294 such companies raised at least $50 million apiece. Almost three-quarters of those companies—216—have neither raised money nor been acquired since the end of 2015. Such companies tend to raise funding every 12 to 18 months." ... See MoreSee Less
Venture capitalists have stopped funding scores of startups that rose to high valuations during a two-year boom, forcing them to fight for survival as they burn through their stockpiles of cash and scramble for new money or buyers.
Varun MathurHow to read the full story: copy-paste the headine in Twitter search then click the link shared by someone.
24 hours ago
Mark OrganWhat they are missing is that a bunch of those companies are now running profitably or close to it. When valuations are strong, we raise money - when not, it's better to conserve cash and run a sustainable biz.
The Canadian startup ecosystem is full of thousands of entrepreneurs starting and scaling their businesses but all of the PR and hype tends to only feature a handful of them (typically, whomever gets the most financing). Case in point - repeat entrepreneur (and law school classmate) Randy Cass has been building Nest Wealth since before "fintech" became de rigueur but their robo-advisor business stood in the shadow of the much better financed and more consumer oriented Wealthsimple. So great to see Randy's hard work paying off with huge growth and a new round of funding to the tune of $6M, led by National Bank - one of the big six banks who more importantly also signed up to be a customer. ... See MoreSee Less
Mohammed AsaduallahThis is the first time I'm hearing of SheWorx, so I'm not too familiar with what other events of their have taken place in Toronto. With that said, for a "leading female entrepreneur event series," why isn't this platform/opportunity provided to a woman? There's already a lack of representation of women and people of color at tech-related events and to see such a platform given to a white man for what's meant to be primarily for women feels strange to me. Perhaps I'm missing something here. Please advise.
Gannett announced on Thursday afternoon that it has acquired Montreal-based listings management company SweetIQ, which will be rolled into its ReachLocal suite of software for small businesses and brands. SweetIQ's products provide local businesses with tools to manage their listings and reputation,...
Varun MathurFrom the perspective of StartupNorth - yes, by all means.
But we need to keep the outsourcing companies out. Corporate Canadian IT departments are being ****DECIMATED**** with local Canadians losing their jobs to Indian outsourcing companies who bring in temporary foreign workers and keep recycling them, at a fraction of the cost of the local Canadian IT worker.
I grew up in India, immigrated here, and while I support open door policies for individuals coming here to work on startups/other companies -- but "working in IT" is not a career choice I would recommend to anyone with the current open door policies to big outsourcing companies. We don't have a vibrant "local IT jobs economy" anymore, except perhaps the local startup scene.
3 days ago · 5
Hardik JogiI came to Canada from India approx. 2 years back as an International Student. I am glad that I selected this country to further my education and career. Canadians have helped me a lot in this 2 years and have always felt warmth and love from them.
3 days ago · 3
Hayden Yuxi LiuBring in the talented engineers from ALL OVER THE WORLD! Keep out outsourcing companies!
Godot Huardthese are local and great: mnubo, Pilot Things (Eric Szymkowiak), Distech Controls, companies working with McRock Capital.
What are you looking for and why?
Canadian, international, microprocessor, hardware, sensor, data , software, network companies, etc. - the field is immense. feel free to shoot me a message if you have more details on the what/why.
I'm the Programming Director for TEDxToronto this year and our team is currently on the hunt for brilliant people to share their ideas. We want to get back to the core of TED this year with lots of Tech and Design speakers, so if you, or someone you know is doing great things in their space and has an idea that needs to be shared, please nominate them. Please always feel free to ping me to chat as well. ... See MoreSee Less