Robert Ross, CEO and Co-Founder at FireHydrant, joins Corey on Screaming in the Cloud to discuss how being an on-call engineer fighting incidents inspired him to start his own company. Robert explains how FireHydrant does more than just notify engineers of an incident, but also helps them to be able to effectively put out the fire. Robert tells the story of how he “accidentally” started a company as a result of a particularly critical late-night incident, and why his end goal at FireHydrant has been and will continue to be solving the problem, not simply choosing an exit strategy. Corey and Robert also discuss the value and pricing models of other incident-reporting solutions and Robert shares why he feels surprised that nobody else has taken the same approach FireHydrant has. About RobertRobert Ross is a recovering on-call engineer, and the CEO and co-founder at FireHydrant. As the co-founder of FireHydrant, Robert plays a central role in optimizing incident response and ensuring software system reliability for customers. Prior to founding FireHydrant, Robert previously contributed his expertise to renowned companies like Namely and Digital Ocean. Links Referenced: FireHydrant: https://firehydrant.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/bobbytables TranscriptAnnouncer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.Corey: Developers are responsible for more than ever these days. Not just the code they write, but also the containers and cloud infrastructure their apps run on. And a big part of that responsibility is app security — from code to cloud. That's where Snyk comes in. Snyk is a frictionless security platform that meets teams where they are, automating application security controls across their existing tools, workflows, and the AWS application stack — including seamless integrations with AWS CodePipeline, Amazon EKS, Amazon Inspector and several others. I'm a customer myself. Deploy on AWS. Secure with Snyk. Learn more at snyk.co/scream. That's S-N-Y-K-dot-C-O/scream.Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud, I'm Corey Quinn. And this featured guest episode is brought to us by our friends at FireHydrant and for better or worse, they've also brought us their CEO and co-founder, Robert Ross, better known online as Bobby Tables. Robert, thank you for joining us.Robert: Super happy to be here. Thanks for having me.Corey: Now, this is the problem that I tend to have when I've been tracking companies for a while, where you were one of the only people that I knew of at FireHydrant. And you kind of still are, so it's easy for me to imagine that, oh, it's basically your own side project that turned into a real job, sort of, side hustle that's basically you and maybe a virtual assistant or someone. I have it on good authority—and it was also signaled by your Series B—that there might be more than just you over there now.Robert: Yes, that's true. There's a little over 60 people now at the company, which is a little mind-boggling for me, starting from side projects, building this in Starbucks to actually having people using the thing and being on payroll. So, a little bit of a crazy thing for me. But yes, over 60.Corey: So, I have to ask, what is it you folks do? When you say ‘fire hydrant,' the first thing that I think I was when I was a kid getting yelled at by the firefighter for messing around with something I probably shouldn't have been messing around with.Robert: So, it's actually very similar where I started it because I was messing around with software in ways I probably shouldn't have and needed a fire hydrant to help put out all the fires that I was fighting as an on-call engineer. So, the name kind of comes from what do you need when you're putting out a fire? A fire hydrant. So, what we do is we help people respond to incidents really quickly, manage them from ring to retro. So, the moment you declare an incident, we'll do all the timeline tracking and eventually help you create a retrospective at the very end. And it's been a labor of love because all of that was really painful for me as an engineer.Corey: One of the things that I used to believe was that every company did something like this—and maybe they do, maybe they don't—I'm noticing these days an increasing number of public companies will never admit to an incident that very clearly ruined things for their customers. I'm not sure if they're going to talk privately to customers under NDAs and whatnot, but it feels like we're leaving an era where it was an expectation that when you had a big issue, you would do an entire public postmortem explaining what had happened. Is that just because I'm not paying attention to the right folks anymore, or are you seeing a downturn in that?Robert: I think that people are skittish of talking about how much reliability they—or issues they may have because we're having this weird moment where people want to open more incidents like the engineers actually want to say we have more incidents and officially declare those, and in the past, we had these, like, shadow incidents that we weren't officially going to say it was an incident, but was a pretty big deal, but we're not going to have a retro on it so it's like it didn't happen. And kind of splitting the line between what's a SEV1, when should we actually talk about this publicly, I think companies are still trying to figure that out. And then I think there's also opposing forces. We talk to folks and it's, you know, public relations will sometimes get involved. My general advice is, like, you should be probably talking about it no matter what. That's how you build trust.It's trust, with incidences, lost in buckets and gained back in drops, so you should be more public about it. And I think my favorite example is a major CDN had a major incident and it took down, like, the UK government website. And folks can probably figure out who I'm talking about, but their stock went up the next day. You would think that a major incident taking down a large portion of the internet would cause your stock to go down. Not the case. They were on it like crazy, they communicated about it like crazy, and lo and behold, you know, people were actually pretty okay with it as far as they could be at the end of the day.Corey: The honest thing that really struck me about that was I didn't realize that CDN that you're referencing was as broadly deployed as it was. Amazon.com took some downtime as a result of this.Robert: Yeah.Corey: It's, “Oh, wow. If they're in that many places, I should be taking them more seriously,” was my takeaway. And again, I don't tend to shame folks for incidents because as soon as you do that, they stopped talking about them. They still have them, but then we all lose the ability to learn from them. I couldn't help but notice that the week that we're recording this, so there was an incident report put out by AWS for a Lambda service event in Northern Virginia.It happened back in June, we're recording this late in October. So, it took them a little bit of time to wind up getting it out the door, but it's very thorough, very interesting as far as what it talks about as far as their own approach to things. Because otherwise, I have to say, it is easy as a spectator slash frustrated customer to assume the absolute worst. Like, you're sitting around there and like, “Well, we have a 15-minute SLA on this, so I'm going to sit around for 12 minutes and finish my game of solitaire before I answer the phone.” No, it does not work that way. People are scrambling behind the scenes because as systems get more complicated, understanding the interdependencies of your own system becomes monstrous.I still remember some of the very early production engineering jobs that I had where—to what you said a few minutes ago—oh, yeah, we'll just open an incident for every alert that goes off. Then we dropped a [core switch 00:05:47] and Nagio sent something like 8000 messages inside of two minutes. And we would still, 15 years later, not be done working through that incident backlog had we done such a thing. All of this stuff gets way harder than you would expect as soon as your application or environment becomes somewhat complicated. And that happens before you realize it.Robert: Yeah, much faster. I think that, in my experience, there's a moment that happens for companies where maybe it's the number of customers you have, number of servers you're running in production, that you have this, like, “Oh, we're running a big workload right now in a very complex system that impacts people's lives, frankly.” And the moment that companies realize that is when you start to see, like, oh, process change, you build it, you own it, now we have an SRE team. Like, there's this catalyst that happens in all of these companies that triggers this. And it's—I don't know, from my perspective, it's coming at a faster rate than people probably realize.Corey: From my perspective, I have to ask you this question, and my apologies in advance if it's one of those irreverent ones, but do you consider yourself to be an observability company?Robert: Oh, great question. No. No, actually. We think that we are the baton handoff between an observability tool and our platform. So, for example, we think that that's a good way to kind of, you know, as they say, monitor the system, give reports on that system, and we are the tool that based on that monitor may be going off, you need to do something about it.So, for example, I think of it as like a smoke detector in some cases. Like, in our world, like that's—the smoke detector is the thing that's kind of watching the system and if something's wrong, it's going to tell you. But at that point, it doesn't really do anything that's going to help you in the next phase, which is managing the incident, calling 911, driving to the scene of the fire, whatever analogies you want to use. But I think the value-add for the observability tools and what they're delivering for businesses is different than ours, but we touch each other, like, very much so.Corey: Managing an incident when something happens and diagnosing what is the actual root cause of it, so to speak—quote-unquote, “Root cause.” I know people have very strong opinions on—Robert: Yeah, say the word [laugh].Corey: —that phrase—exactly—it just doesn't sound that hard. It is not that complicated. It's, more or less, a bunch of engineers who don't know what they're actually doing, and why are they running around chasing this stuff down is often the philosophy of a lot of folks who have never been in the trenches dealing with these incidents themselves. I know this because before I was exposed to scale, that's what I thought and then, oh, this is way harder than you would believe. Now, for better or worse, an awful lot of your customers and the executives at those customers did, for some strange reason, not come up through production engineering as the thing that they've done. They are executives, so it feels like it would be a challenging conversation to have with them, but one thing that you've got in your back pocket, which I always love talking to folks about, is before this, you were an engineer and then you became a CEO of a reasonably-sized company. That is a very difficult transition. Tell me about it.Robert: Yeah. Yeah, so a little of that background. I mean, I started writing code—I've been writing code for two-thirds of my life. So, I'm 32 now; I'm relatively young. And my first job out of high school—skipping college entirely—was writing code. I was 18, I was working in a web dev shop, I was making good enough money and I said, you know what? I don't want to go to college. That sounds—I'm making money. Why would I go to college?And I think it was a good decision because I got to be able—I was right kind of in the centerpiece of when a lot of really cool software things were happening. Like, DevOps was becoming a really cool term and we were seeing the cloud kind of emerge at this time and become much more popular. And it was a good opportunity to see all this confluence of technology and people and processes emerge into what is, kind of like, the base plate for a lot of how we build software today, starting in 2008 and 2009. And because I was an on-call engineer during a lot of that, and building the systems as well, that I was on call for, it meant that I had a front-row seat to being an engineer that was building things that was then breaking, and then literally merging on GitHub and then five minutes later [laugh], seeing my phone light up with an alert from our alerting tool. Like, I got to feel the entire process.And I think that that was nice because eventually one day, I snapped. And it was after a major incident, I snapped and I said, “There's no tool that helps me during this incident. There's no tool that kind of helps me run a process for me.” Because the only thing I care about in the middle of the night is going back to bed. I don't have any other priority [laugh] at 2 a.m.So, I wanted to solve the problem of getting to the fire faster and extinguishing it by automating as much as I possibly could. The process that was given to me in an outdated Confluence page or Google Doc, whatever it was, I wanted to automate that part so I could do the thing that I was good at as an engineer: put out the fire, take some notes, and then go back to bed, and then do a retrospective sometime next day or in that week. And it was a good way to kind of feel the problem, try to build a solution for it, tweak a little bit, and then it kind of became a company. I joke and I say on accident, actually.Corey: I'll never forget one of the first big, hairy incidents that I had to deal with in 2009, where my coworker had just finished migrating the production environment over to LDAP on a Thursday afternoon and then stepped out for a three-day weekend, and half an hour later, everything started exploding because LDAP will do that. And I only had the vaguest idea of how LDAP worked at all. This was a year into my first Linux admin job; I'd been a Unix admin before that. And I suddenly have the literal CEO of the company breathing down my neck behind me trying to figure out what's going on and I have no freaking idea of myself. And it was… feels like there's got to be a better way to handle these things.We got through. We wound up getting it back online, no one lost their job over it, but it was definitely a touch-and-go series of hours there. And that was a painful thing. And you and I went in very different directions based upon experiences like that. I took a few more jobs where I had even worse on-call schedules than I would have believed possible until I started this place, which very intentionally is centered around a business problem that only exists during business hours. There is no 2 a.m. AWS billing emergency.There might be a security issue masquerading as one of those, but you don't need to reach me out of business hours because anything that is a billing problem will be solved in Seattle's timeline over a period of weeks. You leaned into it and decided, oh, I'm going to start a company to fix all of this. And okay, on some level, some wit that used to work here, wound up once remarking that when an SRE doesn't have a better idea, they start a monitoring company.Robert: [laugh].Corey: And, on some level, there's some validity to it because this is the problem that I know, and I want to fix it. But you've differentiated yourself in a few key ways. As you said earlier, you're not an observability company. Good for you.Robert: Yeah. That's a funny quote.Corey: Pete Cheslock. He has a certain way with words.Robert: Yeah [laugh]. I think that when we started the company, it was—we kind of accidentally secured funding five years ago. And it was because this genuinely was something I just, I bought a laptop for because I wanted to own the IP. I always made sure I was on a different network, if I was going to work on the company and the tool. And I was just writing code because I just wanted to solve the problem.And then some crazy situation happened where, like, an investor somehow found FireHydrant because they were like, “Oh, this SRE thing is a big space and incidents is a big part of it.” And we got to talking and they were like, “Hey, we think what you're building is valuable and we think you should build a company here.” And I was—like, you know, the Jim Carrey movie, Yes Man? Like, that was kind of me in that moment. I was like, “Sure.” And here we are five years later. But I think the way that we approached the problem was let's just solve our own problem and let's just build a company that we want to work at.And you know, I had two co-founders join me in late 2018 and that's what we told ourselves. We said, like, “Let's build a company that we want to work for, that solves problems that we have had, that we care about solving.” And I think it's worked out, you know? We work with amazing companies that use our tool—much to their chagrin [laugh]—multiple times a day. It's kind of a problem when you build an incident response tool is that it's a good thing when people are using it, but a bad thing for them.Corey: I have to ask of all of the different angles to approach this from, you went with incident management as opposed to focusing on something that is more purely technical. And I don't say that in any way that is intended to be sounding insulting, but it's easier from an engineering mind to—having been one myself—to come up with, “Here's how I make one computer talk to his other computer when the following event happens.” That's a much easier problem by orders of magnitude than here's how I corral the humans interacting with that computer's failure to talk to another computer in just the right way. How did you get onto this path?Robert: Yeah. The problem that we were trying to solve for it was the getting the right people in the room problem. We think that building services that people own is the right way to build applications that are reliable and stable and easier to iterate on. Put the right people that build that software, give them, like, the skin in the game of also being on call. And what that meant for us is that we could build a tool that allowed people to do that a lot easier where allowing people to corral the right people by saying, “This service is broken, which powers this functionality, which means that these are the people that should get involved in this incident as fast as possible.”And the way we approached that is we just built up part of our functionality called Runbooks, where you can say, “When this happens, do this.” And it's catered for incidents. So, there's other tools out there, you can kind of think of as, like, we're a workflow tool, like Zapier, or just things that, like, fire webhooks at services you build and that ends up being your incident process. But for us, we wanted to make it, like, a really easy way that a project manager could help define the process in our tool. And when you click the button and say, “Declare Incident: LDAP is Broken,” and I have a CEO standing behind me, our tool just would corral the people for you.It was kind of like a bat signal in the air, where it was like, “Hey, there's this issue. I've run all the other process. I just need you to arrive at and help solve this problem.” And we think of it as, like, how can FireHydrant be a mech suit for the team that owns incidents and is responsible for resolving them?Corey: There are a few easier ways to make a product sound absolutely ridiculous than to try and pitch it to a problem that it is not designed to scale to. What is the ‘you must be at least this tall to ride' envisioning for FireHydrant? How large slash complex of an organization do you need to be before this starts to make sense? Because I promise, as one person with a single website that gets no hits, that is probably not the best place for—Robert: Probably not.Corey: To imagine your ideal user persona.Robert: Well, I'm sure you get way more hits than that. Come on [laugh].Corey: It depends on how controversial I'm being in a given week.Robert: Yeah [laugh].Corey: Also, I have several ridiculous, nonsense apps out there, but honestly, those are for fun. I don't charge people for them, so they can deal with my downtime till I get around to it. That's the way it works.Robert: Or, like, spite-visiting your website. No it's—for us, we think that the ‘must be this tall' is when do you have, like, sufficiently complicated incidents? We tell folks, like, if you're a ten-person shop and you have incidents, you know, just use our free tier. Like, you need something that opens a Slack channel? Fine. Use our free tier or build something that hits the Slack API [unintelligible 00:18:18] channel. That's fine.But when you start to have a lot of people in the room and multiple pieces of functionality that can break and multiple people on call, that's when you probably need to start to invest in incident management. Because it is a return on investment, but there is, like, a minimum amount of incidents and process challenges that you need to have before that return on investment actually, I would say, comes to fruition. Because if you do think of, like, an incident that takes downtime, or you know, you're a retail company and you go down for, let's say, ten minutes, and your number of sales per hour is X, it's actually relatively simple for that type of company to understand, okay, this is how much impact we would need to have from an incident management tool for it to be valuable. And that waterline is actually way—it's way lower than I think a lot of people realize, but like you said, you know, if you have a few 100 visitors a day, it's probably not worth it. And I'll be honest there, you can use our free tier. That's fine.Corey: Which makes sense. It's challenging to wind up-sizing things appropriately. Whenever I look at a pricing page, there are two things that I look for. And incidentally, when I pull up someone's website, I first make a beeline for pricing because that is the best way I found for a lot of the marketing nonsense words to drop away and it get down to brass tacks. And the two things I want are free tier or zero-dollar trial that I can get started with right now because often it's two in the morning and I'm trying to see if this might solve a problem that I'm having.And I also look for the enterprise tier ‘contact us' because there are big companies that do not do anything that is not custom nor do they know how to sign a check that doesn't have two commas in it. And whatever is between those two, okay, that's good to look at to figure out what dimensions I'm expected to grow on and how to think about it, but those are the two tent poles. And you've got that, but pricing is always going to be a dark art. What I've been seeing across the industry. And if we put it under the broad realm of things that watch your site and alert you and help manage those things, there are an increasing number of, I guess what I want to call component vendors, where you'll wind up bolting together a couple dozen of these things together into an observability pipeline-style thing, and each component seems to be getting extortionately expensive.Most of the wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night services that will page you—and there are a number of them out there—at a spot check of these, they all cost more per month per user than Slack, the thing that most of us to end up living within. This stuff gets fiendishly expensive, fiendishly quickly, and at some point, you're looking at this going, “The outage is cheaper than avoiding the outage through all of these things. What are we doing here?” What's going on in the industry, other than ‘money printing machine stopped going brrr' in quite the same way?Robert: Yeah, I think that for alerting specifically, this is a big part of, like, the journey that we wanted to have in FireHydrant was like, we also want to help folks with the alerting piece. So, I'll focus on that, which is, I think that the industry around notifying people for incidents—texts, call, push notifications, emails, there's a bunch of different ways to do it—I think where it gets really crazy expensive as in this per-seat model that most of them seem to have landed on. And we're per-seat for, like, the core platform of FireHydrant—so you know, before people spite-visit FireHydrant, look at our pricing pitch—but we're per-seat there because the value there is, like, we're the full platform for the service catalog retrospectives, Runbooks, like, there's a whole other component of FireHydrant—status pages—but when it comes to alerting, like, in my opinion, that should be active user for a few reasons. I think that if you're going to have people responding to incidents and the value from us is making sure they get to that incident very quickly because we wake them up in the middle of the night, we text them, we call them we make their Hue lights turn red, whatever it is, then that's, like, the value that we're delivering at that moment in time, so that's how we should probably invoice you.And I think that what's happened is that the pricing for these companies, they haven't innovated on the product in a way that allows them to package that any differently. So, what's happened, I think, is that the packaging of these products has been almost restrictive in the way that they could change their pricing models because there's nothing much more to package on. It's like, cool there's an alerting aspect to this, but that's what people want to buy those tools for. They want to buy the tool so it wakes them up. But that tool is getting more expensive.There was even a price increase announced today for a big one [laugh] that I've been publicly critical of. That is crazy expensive for a tool that texts you and call you. And what peo—what's going on now are people are looking, they're looking at the pricing sheet for Twilio and going, “What the heck is going on?” Like, I—to send a text on Twilio in the United States is fractions of a penny and here we are paying $40 a user for that person to receive six texts that month because of a webhook that hit an HCP server and, like, it's supposed to call that person? That's kind of a crazy model if you think about it. Like, engineers are kind of going, “Wait a minute. What's up here?” Like, and when engineers start thinking, “I could build this on a weekend,” like, something's wrong, like, with that model. And I think that people are starting to think that way.Corey: Well engineers, to be fair, will think that about an awful lot of stuff.Robert: Anything. Yeah, they [laugh]—Corey: I've heard it said about Dropbox, Facebook, the internet—Robert: Oh, Dropbox is such a good one.Corey: BGP. Yeah okay, great. Let me know how that works out for you.Robert: What was that Dropbox comment on Hacker News years ago? Like, “Just set up NFS and host it that way and it's easy.” Right?Corey: Or rsync. Yeah—Robert: Yeah, it was rsync.Corey: What are you going to make with that? Like, who's going to buy that? Like, basically everyone for at least a time.Robert: And whether or not the engineers are right, I think is a different point.Corey: It's the condescension dismissal of everything that isn't writing the code that really galls, on some level.Robert: But I think when engineers are thinking about, like, “I could build this on a weekend,” like, that's a moment that you have an opportunity to provide the value in an innovative, maybe consolidated way. We want to be a tool that's your incident management ring to retro, right? You get paged in the middle of the night, we're going to wake you up, and when you open up your laptop, groggy-eyed, and like, you're about to start fighting this fire, FireHydrant's already done a lot of work. That's what we think is, like, the right model do this. And candidly, I have no idea why the other alerting tools in this space haven't done this. I've said that and people tend to nod in agreement and say like, “Yeah, it's been—it's kind of crazy how they haven't approached this problem yet.” And… I don't know, I want to solve that problem for folks.Corey: So, one thing that I have to ask, you've been teasing on the internet for a little bit now is something called Signals where you are expanding your product into the component that wakes people up in the middle of the night, which in isolation, fine, great, awesome. But there was a company whose sole stated purpose was to wake people up in the middle of the night, and then once they started doing some business things such as, oh I don't know, going public, they needed to expand beyond that to do a whole bunch of other things. But as a customer, no, no, no, you are the thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night. I don't want you to sprawl and grow into everything else because if you're going to have to pick a vendor that claims to do everything, well, I'll just stay with AWS because they already do that and it's one less throat to choke. What is that pressure that is driving companies that are spectacular at the one thing to expand into things that frankly, they don't have the chops to pull off? And why is this not you doing the same thing?Robert: Oh, man. The end of that question is such a good one and I like that. I'm not an economist. I'm not—like, that's… I don't know if I have a great comment on, like, why are people expanding into things that they don't know how to do. It seems to be, like, a common thing across the industry at a certain point—Corey: Especially particularly generative AI. “Oh, we've been experts in this for a long time.” “Yeah, I'm not that great at dodgeball, but you also don't see me mouthing off about how I've been great at it and doing it for 30 years, either.”Robert: Yeah. I mean, there was a couple ads during football games I watched. I'm like, “What is this AI thing that you just, like, tacked on the letter X to the end of your product line and now all of a sudden, it's AI?” I have plenty of rants that are good for a cocktail at some point, but as for us, I mean, we knew that we wanted to do alerting a long time ago, but it does have complications. Like, the problem with alerting is that it does have to be able to take a brutal punch to the face the moment that AWS us-east-2 goes down.Because at that moment in time, a lot of webhooks are coming your way to wake somebody up, right, for thousands of different companies. So, you do have to be able to take a very, very sufficient amount of volume instantaneously. So, that was one thing that kind of stopped us. In 2019 even, we wrote a product document about building an alerting tool and we kind of paused. And then we got really deep into incident management, and the thing that makes us feel very qualified now is that people are actually already integrating their alerting tools into FireHydrant today. This is a very common thing.In fact, most people are paying for a FireHydrant and an alerting tool. So, you can imagine that gets a little expensive when you have both. So, we said, well, let's help folks consolidate, let's help folks have a modern version of alerting, and let's build on top of something we've been doing very well already, which is incident management. And we ended up calling it Signals because we think that we should be able to receive a lot of signals in, do something correct with them, and then put a signal out and then transfer you into incident management. And yeah, we're are excited for it actually. It's been really cool to see it come together.Corey: There's something to be said for keeping it in a certain area of expertise. And people find it very strange when they reach out to my business partner and me asking, okay, so are you going to expand into Google Cloud or Azure or—increasingly, lately—Datadog—which has become a Fortune 500 board-level expense concern, which is kind of wild to me, but here we are—and asking if we're going to focus on that, and our answer is no because it's very… well, not very, but it is relatively easy to be the subject matter expert in a very specific, expensive, painful problem, but as soon as you start expanding that your messaging loses focus and it doesn't take long—since we do you view this as an inherent architectural problem—where we're saying, “We're the best cloud engineers and cloud architects in the world,” and then we're competing against basically everyone out there. And it costs more money a year for Accenture or Deloitte's marketing budget than we'll ever earn as a company in our entire lifetime, just because we are not externally boosted, we're not putting hundreds of people into the field. It's a lifestyle business that solves an expensive, painful problem for our customers. And that focus lends clarity. I don't like the current market pressure toward expansion and consolidation at the cost of everything, including it seems, customer trust.Robert: Yeah. That's a good point. I mean, I agree. I mean, when you see a company—and it's almost getting hard to think about what a company does based on their name as well. Like, names don't even mean anything for companies anymore. Like Datadog has expanded into a whole lot of things beyond data and if you think about some of the alerting tools out there that have names of, like, old devices that used to attach to our hips, that's just a different company name than what represents what they do.And I think for us, like, incidents, that's what we care about. That's what I know. I know how to help people manage incidents. I built software that broke—sometimes I was an arsonist—sometimes I was a firefighter, it really depends, but that's the thing that we're going to be good at and we're just going to keep building in that sphere.Corey: I think that there's a tipping point that starts to become pretty clear when companies focus away from innovating and growing and serving customers into revenue protection mode. And I think this is a cyclical force that is very hard to resist. But I can tell even having conversations like this with folks, when the way that a company goes about setting up one of these conversations with me, you came by yourself, not with a squadron of PR people, not with a whole giant list of talking points you wanted to go to, just, “Let's talk about this stuff. I'm interested in it.”As a company grows, that becomes more and more uncommon. Often, I'll see it at companies a third the size of yours, just because there's so much fear around everything we say must be spoken in such a way that it could never be taken in a negative way against us. That's not the failure mode. The failure mode is that no one listens to you or cares what you have to say. At some point, yeah, I get the shift, but damned if it doesn't always feel like it's depressing.Robert: Yeah. This is such great questions because I think that the way I think about it is, I care about the problem and if we solve the problem and we solve it well and people agree with us on our solution being a good way to solve that problem, then the revenue, like, happens because of that. I've gotten asked from, like, from VCs and customers, like, “What's your end goal with FireHydrant as the CEO of the company?” And what they're really asking is, like, “Do you want to IPO or be acquired?” That's always a question every single time.And my answer is, maybe, I don't know, philosophical, but it's, I think if we solve the problem, like, one of those will happen, but that's not the end goal. Because if I aim at that, we're going to come up short. It's like how they tell you to throw a ball, right? Like they don't say, aim at the glove. They say, like, aim behind the person.And that's what we want to do. We just want to aim at solving a problem and then the revenue will come. You have to be smart about it, right? It's not a field of dreams, like, if you build it, like, revenue arrives, but—so you do have to be conscious of the business and the operations and the model that you work within, but it should all be in service of building something that's valuable.Corey: I really want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. If people want to learn more, where should they go to find you, other than, you know, to their most recent incident page?Robert: [laugh]. No, thanks for having me. So, to learn more about me, I mean, you can find me on Twitter on—or X. What do we call it now?Corey: I call it Twitter because I don't believe in deadnaming except when it's companies.Robert: Yeah [laugh]. twitter.com/bobbytables if you want to find me there. If you want to learn more about FireHydrant and what we're doing to help folks with incidents and incident response and all the fun things in there, it's firehydrant.com or firehydrant.io, but we'll redirect you to dot com.Corey: And we will, of course, put a link to all of that in the [show notes 00:33:10]. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. It's deeply appreciated.Robert: Thank you for having me.Corey: Robert Ross, CEO and co-founder of FireHydrant. This featured guest episode has been brought to us by our friends at FireHydrant, and I'm Corey Quinn. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, whereas if you've hated this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, along with an insulting comment that will never see the light of day because that crappy platform you're using is having an incident that they absolutely do not know how to manage effectively.Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business and we get to the point. Visit duckbillgroup.com to get started.
HOUSTON—-Kahuna Workforce Solutions, a pioneer in operational skills and competency management software, has announced a $21 million Series B funding round led by Resolve Growth Partners. https://hrtechfeed.com/skills-management-software-platform-raises-21-million/ Workday, (NASDAQ: WDAY), announced results for the fiscal 2024 third quarter ended October 31, 2023. Fiscal Third Quarter Total Revenues of $1.87 Billion, Up 16.7% Year Over Year Subscription Revenues of $1.69 Billion, Up 18.1% Year Over Year 12-Month Subscription Revenue Backlog of $6.05 Billion, Up 21.9% Year Over Year https://hrtechfeed.com/workday-subscription-revenues-up-18-1-year-over-year/ SAN FRANCISCO — Every.io (dba Every), the all-in-one back office stack for startups, today announced its coming out of stealth alongside $9.5 million in seed funding. Every provides bank accounts, corporate cards, bill payments, corporate treasury, HR, payroll, benefits, accounting, and taxes all in one platform. https://hrtechfeed.com/every-io-raises-9-5m-in-seed-funding-for-all-in-one-hr-finance-suite/ TEMECULA, Calif. – Happy Companies officially announces Happy, its proprietary people and coaching platform for accelerating organizational performance and enhancing management and leadership effectiveness. https://hrtechfeed.com/new-employee-communication-platform-announces-launch/ There is already a vendor named Plum. plum.io the assessments tool....But Someone didnt do their research. ... Plumm, a London, UK-based B2B business software platform providing employers with an innovative software platform to deliver mental health support to their employees, received a £2.2M investment from IW Capital The company intends to use the funds to grow its partnerships, sales and marketing teams, and expanding operations within the UK and internationally in the EU, Middle East and US.
Max Azarov created his business to meet the needs of his own children and families like his. But it was successful enough to become a major online platform – and is in the process of scaling up big time. Today on The Business of You, Max shares some of his key takeaways from scaling up and growing as an entrepreneur. Max is the Founder of NovaKid, an online language learning platform for kids ages 4-12. Novakid has been included on the Forbes Top 500 list of America's Best Startup Employers. NovaKid is currently in the expansion phase, exploring new ways to work with older children and create group language immersion experiences. Classes are 25-45 minutes depending on childrens' ages. NovaKid employs complete immersion during classes, with no English spoken, and integrates learning games into the curriculum, making language acquisition engaging and effective. NovaKid is a Series B startup that has raised $41.5 million to date and created revenue of over $18 million in 2021. This fully remote, venture-backed business has been operating since 2017, with approximately 2,500 staff and teachers in over 20 countries. Novakid is funded by well-known venture capital firms Owl Ventures and Goodwater Capital, PortfoLion, LearnStart, Xploration Capital, Bon Angels, Leta Capital, TMT Investments, all of which support innovation businesses globally. Max has a robust background in applied mathematics, software design, and digital signal processing. He worked at Google in product development and the development of Google Maps. Created out of need Max Azarov was frustrated. Living abroad in Eastern Europe, he was struggling to find teaching modalities for his older son to learn English. In a place where English was not widely spoken or accessible at the time, he attempted to find a teacher for him – but she ended up moving away. While on a trip to Shanghai in 2017, Max had an epiphany when he saw families using a popular platform called VIPKid. Wondering why there was no comparable platform in Europe, he set out to research it. While there were plenty of options for adults to learn, there weren't for children. There were widespread beliefs that children could not learn online and certainly could not acquire language skills online. Fortunately, those beliefs turned out to be false. Secrets of scaling a remote company As NovaKid extended its influence, it emerged as a prominent player in the online education sector. Max Azarov, equipped with a background in applied mathematics, software design, and experience at Google, guided NovaKid through substantial growth. Max's entrepreneurial journey, rooted in personal necessity, is a compelling illustration of how business ventures can address unmet needs and revolutionize industries, particularly in scaling online businesses and embracing remote workforces. Quotes “I was helping these big guys to help them solve a problem. That was a big moment for me – realizing that this is not just my hobby, not just my passion…it was something that I could use to make a big difference in the world.” “This was the need – how do I make them fluent in English while living in a country where English is not the first language and is not widely spoken?” “For adults, you could find a lot of choices. But for kids, there was nothing. Traditional wisdom would say that it wouldn't work for kids. But that turned out to be completely false.” “There are two things we do differently than others: We went with complete immersion! No English is spoken during the class. The second thing is that we heavily used learning games as part of the curriculum.” “It's a combination of games, to get attention, and full immersion that drives the learning.” “We are focused on deep and meaningful connections with students.” “Why do we even have language as a species? We have it to make deep, meaningful connections with each other. So we encourage that in our product as well.” “If your business model allows you to have remote workers, definitely do that!” “Without an excellent healthy culture, you cannot really build a successful company.” Links mentioned in this episode: Visit the NovaKid website at https://www.novakidschool.com See NovaKid's feature in Forbes' list of America's Best Startup Employers: https://www.forbes.com/lists/americas-best-startup-employers/?sh=60b6d5272ad7 Connect with Max on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mazarov
Pastor Baker discusses theological distinctions between Law & Gospel. Today's topic of discussion is Sunday's Lectionary for Series B of the Three Year Lectionary. Festival: First Sunday in Advent 1st Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9 Psalm: Psalm 80:1-7 Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Gospel: Mark 11:1-10 or Mark 13:24-37 Law and Gospel is independently produced by Pastor Tom Baker. Views and opinions expressed on this program may not represent the official position of the management or ownership of KFUO Radio, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. To contact Pastor Tom Baker, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pilgrim is an Indian-based, all natural, vegan, direct-to-consumer (D2C) skincare startup brand that has caught the attention of some prominent investors. Just two months ago, Vertex Ventures, Fireside Ventures and Narotam Sekhsaria Family Office, were part of Pilgrim's $20 million Series B funding round, which will help them accelerate the company's growth in India.Having generated $9.59 million in revenue in the last financial year, the company is expecting 3X growth to hit around $30 million in the next financial year, and another 2X growth to achieve $60-70 million the year after. It is also expecting to hit profitability next year.All that and more in this conversation with Anurag Kedia, the co-founder of Pilgrim. We explore Pilgrim's origins and growth story, insights into how to build a consumer beauty brand while optimising your marketing budget, as well as future plans including the path to profitability and IPO thoughts.
In this episode of Raising Biotech, Surani speaks with CEO and co-founder Jack O'Meara of Ochre Bio, a company dedicated to tackling the large and unsolved problem of complex and chronic liver diseases. Founded in 2019, Ochre raised an impressive $30 million after only three years in start-up mode and is now gearing up to take some of its drug candidates into the clinic.Surani speaks to Jack about his individual journey and the moment he met and decided to partner up with co-founder Dr Quin Wills. Jack discusses their light bulb idea of setting up a company to study the liver and develop novel and targeted gene therapies using human donor organs as preclinical models instead of mice. Jack talks about Ochre's fundraising journey in Europe vs US, his own experiences raising funds as a relatively young biotech founder and how the company successfully set up an organ "ICU" to conduct its research.Dr Scott Friedman, Dean of therapeutic discovery and Chief of the division of liver diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, joins the podcast to share his thoughts on Ochre's thesis and mission with siRNA gene therapies and its "deep phenotyping" approach. With 40 years of experience in the field, he's seen a lot of failure, so discusses what types of challenges Ochre will have to think about as they progress into human testing.Jack discusses next steps as the company moves towards the clinic -- which involves partnership talks, a Series B fundraising and narrowing down the first indication to test its medicines.Timestamps:02:00 - CEO Jack O'Meara gives Ochre Bio's liver disease thesis04:08 - Rewinding to Jack's back story and connecting with co-founder Dr Quin Wills05:30 - Generating the "light bulb" moment of using discarded human donor organs for research07:05 - Why liver disease, particularly NASH has seen so many catastrophic failures (Intercept)08:38 - Quin and Jack search for investors and take roadshow to more "risk-friendly" US investors10:25 - What it was like for Jack being such a young biotech entrepreneur and how that impacted fundraising13:40 - Dr Scott Friedman (Mount Sinai) gives his take on Ochre's scientific thesis and mission15:00 - After some initial logistical hiccups, Ochre builds its own "organ" ICU centre for testing17:36 - Use of siRNA therapy and deep phenotyping approach to generate lead drug candidates20:52 - A compelling strategy to de-risk trials, but potential challenges ahead to consider24:45 - Partnership discussions and Series B plans to get drugs into the clinic25:08 - Prioritizing "smaller" disease to tackle in first clinical trials28:17 - Jack's visions in building Ochre into a large multi-product company in Europe.For any comments, questions, feedback or suggestions you can connect directly with Surani Fernando on LinkedIn or email: email@example.comMusic composed by: Yrii Semchyshyn (Coma Media) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Join Matt Watson and Steve Satoru Naito, Co-founder and CEO of Anyplace, as they explore his journey from immigrant to Series B and the creation of digital nomad accommodations. Steve and Matt share insights into the unique challenges faced as first-time entrepreneurs. They delve into the shifting focuses between Series A and B and the intricate dynamics of supply and demand in the short-term rental market. Find Startup Hustle Everywhere: https://gigb.co/l/YEh5 This episode is sponsored by Full Scale: https://fullscale.io Learn more about Anyplace: https://www.anyplace.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This week we welcome Jenn Ravalli, CMO at HARRI on The Recruitment Flex The most exciting announcement of the year for investment in HR Tech was HARRI, who secured funding to the tune of $43MM USD in a Series B. As we look inside and see who their customers are and what problems HARRI solves, it makes perfect sense. Who wouldn't want to be part of this? Solving for the first 90 days in the restaurant industry answers the only 2 things workers want, “What's the shift and who's my new leader?”. Drive for retention vs keep filling the top of the funnel, HARRI stays with you, like a good meal.
Our 143rd episode with a summary and discussion of last week's big AI news, now back with the usual hosts! Read out our text newsletter and comment on the podcast at https://lastweekin.ai/ Email us your questions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org Check out our sponsor, the SuperDataScience podcast. You can listen to SDS across all major podcasting platforms (e.g., Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts) plus there's a video version on YouTube. Timestamps + links: Applications & Business(02:53) Sam Altman fired as CEO of OpenAI (12:00) Everything announced at OpenAI's first developer event (16:05) GM's Cruise suspends supervised and manual car trips, expands probes (18:30) Under Fire Over Robotaxi Safety, GM Halts Production Of Cruise Driverless Van (20:55) Microsoft unveils first AI chip, Maia 100, and Cobalt CPU (21:35) AV Startup May Mobility Locks Up Another $105M From NTT, Toyota (22:38) Aleph Alpha raises $500m Series B in Europe's third-largest AI round ever (23:22) AI startup Twelve Labs attracts US$10 mln from Nvidia, Intel, others (24:16) Defense Tech Startup Shield AI Raises $200M At $2.7B Valuation Tools & Apps(25:00) Elon Musk debuts 'Grok' AI bot to rival ChatGPT, others (27:38) Brave responds to Bing and ChatGPT with a new ‘anonymous and secure' AI chatbot (30:03) ChatGPT is combining its different abilities into a single ‘Voltron-style' chat (31:01) LinkedIn's new AI chatbot wants to help you get a job (32:07) Meet Samsung's Answer to ChatGPT: A New AI Model Called Gauss (33:33) Humane's AI Pin: all the news about the new AI-powered wearable Projects & Open Source(36:06) Valued at $1B, Kai-Fu Lee's LLM startup unveils open source model Research & Advancements(40:03) Google DeepMind wants to define what counts as artificial general intelligence (42:35) Google DeepMind breaks new ground with ‘Mirasol3B' for advanced video analysis (45:15) MetNet-3: A state-of-the-art neural weather model available in Google products (46:06) Instant3D: Instant Text-to-3D Generation (47:54) Title:One-2-3-45++: Fast Single Image to 3D Objects with Consistent Multi-View Generation and 3D Diffusion (49:12) Holistic Evaluation of Text-To-Image Models Policy & Safety(51:37) Biden Issues Executive Order to Create A.I. Safeguards (56:10) Amy Klobuchar and John Thune introduce legislation for creating generative AI framework (57:55) Midjourney, Stability AI and DeviantArt win a victory in copyright case by artists — but the fight continues (01:00:19) At UK's AI Summit developers and govts agree on testing to help manage risks (01:02:15) White faces generated by AI are more convincing than photos, finds survey Synthetic Media & Art(01:04:12) Striking Actors and Hollywood Studios Agree to a Deal (01:07:46) Google is embedding inaudible watermarks right into its AI generated music (01:10:10) YouTube previews AI tool that clones famous singers — with their permission (01:11:08) Microsoft is bringing AI characters to Xbox (01:11:49) CBS News Launches New Venture To Identify AI Deepfakes And Misinformation
We spoke with Bibhu Prasad Das, CEO & Co-founder of Propelld, a Series B funded Bengaluru based fintech specializing in providing personalised education loans to students and families in Tier 2/3 cities. Propelld bases their lending decisions on selected course's end-use, deep borrower underwriting, and by taking a partner-led model. Backed by marquee investors such as Westbridge Capital, Stellaris, and India Quotient, the company was founded with the mission to make education financing more accessible and affordable for Indian students. Propelld leverages technology and ventures deep into its target segment (i.e. supplementary/out of school education and higher education) by collecting alternate data points to determine a student's forward looking capabilities and motivations. Listen in to this fascinating chat where we touch upon inherent underwriting challenges within education lending, how Propelld has tackled them to unlock the potential of this market as a large-TAM-low loss segment, and the perspective needed by institutional investors looking to take exposure in this space. Hope you enjoy this TRANSFIN. Podcast with Nikhil Arora and Sharath Toopran, where we converse with entrepreneurs and business operators running successful startups, profitable SMEs and family promoted firms on one end, and top investment professionals representing VC/PE/credit funds on the other. The objective is to bring out an "actionable" perspective converging the world of business and investing. If you're a founder and if you'd like us to drill down your model, feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com
Rebecca Kaden is a Managing Partner @ Union Square Ventures, one of the leading early-stage firms of the last decade with investments in Twitter, Twilio, Coinbase and many more. Nicole Quinn is a General Partner @ Lightspeed where she has led investments or sits on the board of Calm, Cameo and LunchClub to name a few. Eurie Kim is a Managing Partner @ Forerunner Ventures, the leading early-stage consumer fund. Eurie has led investments and sits on the board of Oura, The Farmers Dog, Curology and more. In Today's Roundtable We Discuss: 1. Seed Rounds: Is it even possible for traditional seed funds to play in a world of multi-stage funds investing so aggressively at the seed stage? Is seed immune to the macro environment? Will seed pricing remain as high as ever? What advice does the team have for seed founders approaching a Series A? What do they need? 2. Series A: How is the Series A market looking today? Is there a crunch at the Series A? To what extent are valuations compressed at the Series A? What 3 core elements do companies at the A stage, looking for a Series B next, need to focus on? 3. Series B and Beyond: Is the real crunch at the Series B? Why are down rounds so much better than structured rounds for companies raising? Will we see a wave of M&A in the next 12 months? 4. Crypto, AI and Hot Takes: Why is now the best time to be investing in crypto? Why is investing in AI a lottery right now? What is the most controversial thing that each believes today?
In der Mittagsfolge sprechen wir heute mit Frank Thieser, Chief Financial Officer von Quantum Systems, über die erfolgreich abgeschlossene Series-B-Finanzierungsrunde in Höhe von 63,6 Millionen Euro.Quantum-Systems ist ein Drohnenhersteller und sorgt mit seinen Multisensor-Datenerfassungsprodukten für Datenaufklärung aus der Luft. Über einen Minicomputer lassen sich die Bilder der Drohne verschlüsselt in Echtzeit übertragen. Die dafür notwendige Software hat das Drohnen-Startup selbst entwickelt. Die elektrisch vertikal startenden und landenden Systeme zeichnen sich nach eigenen Angaben durch Ausdauer, einfache Bedienung und Zuverlässigkeit aus. Das Startup bedient mit seinem dualen Ansatz sowohl kommerzielle als auch militärische Kunden, wie beispielsweise Regierungsbehörden. Diese Position gibt dem Unternehmen den Vorteil, die Geschwindigkeit der kommerziellen Entwicklung auf die Verteidigungsindustrie zu übertragen. Kunden aus dem öffentlichen und privaten Sektor nutzen die vielseitigen Drohnensysteme für Verteidigungs-, Sicherheits-, humanitäre und geospatiale Einsätze. So können die Geräte auch beispielsweise in der Landwirtschaft, zur Volumenberechnung im Tagebau, für Vermessungsarbeiten auf Großbaustellen oder für automatisierte Inspektionen von Bahngleisen verwendet werden. Quantum Systems wurde im Jahr 2015 von Tobias Kloss, Michael Kriegel, Armin Busse, Michael Wohlfahrt und Florian Seibel in München gegründet. Mehrere Staaten haben bereits Drohnen des Jungunternehmens im Einsatz. So nutzt beispielsweise die Ukraine Drohnen von Quantum Systems, um russische Truppen auszuspähen und missionskritische Daten zu liefern. Zudem haben nach eigenen Angaben auch das deutsche und das US-amerikanische Verteidigungsministerium bereits Bestellungen aufgegeben.Nun hat der bayerische Hersteller von unbemannten Drohnen in einer Series B 63,6 Millionen Euro unter der Führung von HV Capital und DTCP eingesammelt. Damit hat das Startup insgesamt mehr als 100 Millionen Euro aufgebracht. Zu den weiteren Kapitalgebern der Runde zählen Project A Ventures, Bayern Kapital, Omnes, Airbus Ventures und Thiel Capital. Mit dem frischen Kapital möchte das Münchner Unternehmen seine Produktionskapazitäten erheblich steigern und so auf die wachsende Nachfrage nach seinen Lösungen reagieren. Dabei plant Quantum Systems die Einrichtung eines Inlands-Support-, Fertigungs- und Forschungszentrums.
In this week's episode of the SaaS Revolution Show, our host Alex Theuma is joined by Itamar Novick, Founder & General Partner at Recursive Ventures, who his insights and advice on how to raise your first round. "I think that your odds of success building a startup are much higher if at least one person on the founding team has some orientation to do sales, right? If everybody's technical and everybody's introverted, who's going to talk with customers? Who's going to succeed in doing that?" Itamar shares: ⚡️ Why he doesn't want to make Recursive Ventures a multi-partner fund ⚡️ His decision to intentionally not take board seats ⚡️ Demystifying pre-seed investment rounds ⚡️ His advice on not raising money from VCs unless a founder *wants* to build a VC backable company - that means showing a path to $500k - $1B in revenue for seven to ten years from now ⚡️ Why fundraising is a sales effort - as well as high quality collateral, founders need to be able pitch very well and very quickly ⚡️ Why he encourages entrepreneurs to consistently build relationships with people in the startup and VC ecosystem and more! --- Check out the other ways SaaStock is serving SaaS founders - SaaStock Dublin 2024: The largest concentration of SaaS decision makers in one place for three days of networking, connecting, and learning all things SaaS (https://www.saastock.com/saastock-2024/) - SaaStock Founder Membership: A private members group of B2B SaaS founders between $100K - $10M ARR who are committed to growth and helping others (https://www.saastock.com/founder-membership/) - SaaStock Local: Monthly meet-ups in cities all around the world, bringing together SaaS enthusiasts and experts to discuss the most pressing topics in SaaS (https://local.saastock.com/home
You might have heard of Stormtroopers in the Star Wars franchise. But what about YouTroopers? Well, YouTroopers is a term used to describe globetrotters who use multi-currency mobile wallets and prepaid debit cards by fintech startup YouTrip! Launched in 2018, YouTrip is a regional financial technology startup that seeks to empower people with a smarter and more convenient way to pay in foreign currency through in-app exchange. Think of it as a money changer, but located within a mobile application. Besides providing individuals with a hassle-free way to pay in foreign currency through in-app exchanges, the firm also provides individual and SME clients with personal and corporate cards that they can use to spend in stores. The company raised US$50 million in its latest Series B funding round to invest in technology and innovation, as well as to hire over a hundred workers to launch in new markets across Southeast Asia. But why is the firm expanding aggressively at this time, and what kind of innovations can we expect on this front? How will that accelerate financial inclusion in the region? In this Singapore Fintech Festival edition of Under the Radar, The Evening Runway's finance presenter Chua Tian Tian posed these questions to Arthur Mak, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, YouTrip.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This is our Friday show, and we're talking about the week's biggest startup and tech news. This time 'round we had Kirsten Korosec, Mary Ann Azevedo, and Alex Wilhelm on the job to chat through a massive pile of news:For everyone who listened to our fintech deep-dive, here are Affirm's results.Deals of the Week: $105 million for May Mobility, $3.6 million for Mogul Club, and Microsoft's latest startup wooing trend.WeWork is bankrupt, and we are Not Shocked.All things from OpenAI's developer day, and how its latest news is a good example of platform risk.It's raining IPOs! Here, there, everywhere!And with that, we're going to go rest for the weekend and come back Monday at full steam!For episode transcripts and more, head to Equity's Simplecast website.Equity drops at 7 a.m. PT every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts. TechCrunch also has a great show on crypto, a show that interviews founders and more!
I'm not a financial advisor; nothing I write in Superpowers for Good should be considered investment advice. You should seek appropriate counsel before making investment decisions. I own a few shares of Wefunder.Remember, you can watch the Superpowers for Good show on e360tv. To watch the episode, download the #e360tv channel app to your streaming device–Roku, AppleTV or AmazonFireTV–or your mobile device. You can even watch it on the web.Devin: What do you see as your superpower that is enabling all of your success?Jonny: I think my superpower, my Slack bio, which is quasi-cultivated and has, I think, been my Slack bio since I joined Wefunder, is “relentless positive energy.”Connecting with Jonny Price of Wefunder was fun. Wefunder is one of the leading investment crowdfunding sites by any measure and, I believe, has completed the most offerings.Recently, Substack–the company that hosts this newsletter and the podcast distribution of the television show–completed a $5 million Regulation Crowdfunding offering on Wefunder–in a single day. Over 6,000 people invested. Let that sink in for a moment. There are some easy answers anyone can posit for why Substack was so successful and why others are less so. It was fun for me to put the question to Jonny. Here's his response (edited lightly):I think the secret is building an incredible company and an incredible product that has millions of users that are just so passionate about the brand of Substack and what they stand for in the world–which is independent, decentralized journalism and good writing and promoting that. So, they built an incredible product over many, many years and built an audience of millions of people. So, when they sent an email to that audience saying, “Hey, you can invest in Substack alongside Andreessen Horowitz and other VCs,” their writers and readers jumped at the chance to do that.If you look at all the companies that have raised $5 million in a day on Wefunder–Mercury is another one–awesome kind of banking stack, mostly for startups and early-stage businesses. Same thing. They raised $120 million Series B in 2021 and then opened up a $5 million allocation to let their customers invest–and their customers jumped at the chance.So, if you're a coffee shop with one location opening to a second, or if you're a restaurant or if you're an early stage consumer packaged goods company, you know, and you're doing $500 K in, annual revenue, and you have a much, much smaller audience, you're not going to be able to raise $5 million in a day, because you have a smaller audience.In those cases, let's talk about how you're going to maximize it because you're going to need to pull out all the stops and put in a lot of effort, execute on a marketing plan and come up with a great profile page and all that good stuff. But with these explosive $5 million in-a-day raises, you have a product, you have a company, you have a huge audience. For a very, very small number of companies, it's, yeah, push button, raise $5 million from 5,000 fans that are now even more supercharged as brand ambassadors and loyal customers for Mercury or Substack or whoever it might be.While most crowdfunding raises won't raise $5 million in one day, it is great to see what it takes. The rest of us will have to “put in a lot of effort and execute on a marketing plan” to make our offerings successful.In all he does, Jonny leverages his superpower: relentless positive energy.AI Episode Summary* Devin Thorpe interviews Jonny Price, VP of Wefunder, on the topic of investment crowdfunding.* Jonny has been with Wefunder since 2018 and has witnessed the growth of the company and the industry.* Jonny reflects on the progress made in the industry, citing the increase in the cap, new SEC regulations, and the rise of community rounds.* Although investment volume in the market has decreased, Wefunder has remained steady and continues to grow, contributing to the vision of expanding the market for crowdfunding.* Jonny acknowledges that while the potential for market growth is significant, it may not reach a thousand-fold increase, but a hundred-fold increase is achievable.* Jonny emphasizes the importance of crowdfunding for small businesses and Main Street SMEs, as they often have limited access to capital and can benefit from raising funds from their community.* Substack's success in raising $5 million in 24 hours on Wefunder is attributed to the company's large and passionate user base.* Jonny suggests that building an incredible product and company with a loyal customer base is the key to successful crowdfunding campaigns.* Jonny believes his superpower is his relentless positive energy and resilience, which has helped him overcome challenges in his career and personal life.* He suggests practicing gratitude and focusing on one's zone of genius to maintain a positive mindset and achieve success.How to Develop Relentless Positive Energy As a SuperpowerJonny sees his relentless positive energy as something he inherited or learned at such a young age that it is now second nature. He explains how he uses it at Wefunder:It's like all startups are a roller coaster, especially when you're doing a hard thing and disrupting an industry. So, I've been on a lot of phone calls with entrepreneurs, VCs, angel investors, entrepreneurial ecosystem builders–people like you–hundreds and hundreds of calls every month for five and a half years. A lot of people would just get burned out by that. It's just hard–the startup grind. Right? I'm more optimistic and positive about Wefunder and the direction we're heading in the future of this industry than I've ever been. I have more energy now than I've ever had five and a half years in.Jonny offers two tips for developing relentless positive energy.First, he suggests a gratitude journal that could help you develop the pattern of seeing the positive. Second, he suggests following the advice of Matt Mochrie, who recommends leaders focus on their “zone of genius,” the things they do well. What do you do best? Focus more energy and more time on doing that. You'll be happier and add more value to your organization that way. Following Jonny's example and advice can strengthen your ability to exude positive energy even in challenging times. With practice, you may even make relentless positive energy a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.Guest ProfileJonny Price (he/him):VP of Fundraising, WefunderAbout Wefunder: We help founders raise capital from their customers and community, as well as rich people.Website: wefunder.comTwitter Handle: @wefunderCompany Facebook Page: facebook.com/wefunderInstagram Handle: @wefunderBiographical Information: Jonny has led the fundraising team at Wefunder since he joined in 2018. Prior to Wefunder, Jonny founded the U.S. lending team at Kiva.org, where he worked for seven years. Originally from the UK, Jonny now lives in Nashville with his wife, Ali, and their three children, Felicity, Carlyle and Margot.Twitter Handle: @jonnycpriceLinkedin: linkedin.com/in/jonnyprice Get full access to Superpowers for Good at www.superpowers4good.com/subscribe
Gerald Hetrick (CEO of Bezlio & Professional EOS Implementer) Gerald has been on the show once before; those of you who've been with Lay of The Land from the beginning may recall Gerald as one of the first entrepreneurs to make an appearance back on Episode #6, which I'd encourage anyone interested in learning Gerald's personal and entrepreneurial journey co-founding and leading two companies from inception to exit — spanning his time building Vox Mobile and Able — to take a listen to that episode… Gerald's an incredible storyteller and sets a great stage there for our conversation today where we pick up on where we left off and cover what's transpired in the years since.And it's pretty incredible how much has changed in this interim period and how impactful Gerald has been in driving that change. As CEO of Able, Gerlad led the organization through five years of 100% Year-Over-Year growth, a $7 million Series B fundraise, and ultimately a successful exit in early 2022 to Bullhorn, a leading software platform for the staffing and recruiting industry.With the time and space to reflect post-acquisition, Gerald resolved to be retrospective and learn from the lessons of his failures and successes over his 25 years of entrepreneurial experience. In this time, he came to the conclusion that he loves building great companies and that so many of the issues he struggled with in the process of building great companies were self-inflected, recognizing how much more impactful he could have been if he had prioritized running on a consistent business operating system, like EOS, and that ultimately these operating systems provide leverage, and not overhead.Collectively, these realizations amounted to Gerald becoming CEO of another Cleveland growth-oriented technology startup called Bezlio, and starting his own EOS implementation practice, coaching other growth-minded leaders willing to invest in making their visions reality and their teams as healthy as possible!At Bezlio, Gerald is focused on ensuring manufacturing shop-floor employees know what to do next and how to do it right, believing deeply in Bezlio's opportunity to significantly drive middle-market manufacturing growth and prosperity. To that end, Bezlio recently closed a $4.5 million seed round to invest in massive product improvements to its cloud-based mobile ERP (Enterprise resource planning) platform, their go-to-market strategy, and customer relationships.This was a really fun and candid conversation, understanding how Gerald has evolved as a leader, closing Able's chapter, starting Bezlio's chapter, building his coaching practice in service of other founders trying to build great organizations, his approach to dreaming big and operating practically, and many other reflections along the way.-----Lay of The Land is brought to you by Burton D. Morgan Mentoring at JumpStart. It's impossible to tell the stories of the entrepreneurs building in Cleveland and across northeast Ohio without acknowledging the impact of our collective mentoring community. Over the past decade, Burton D. Morgan Mentoring at JumpStart has helped hundreds of mentees, some of whom we've heard from as guests on this podcast, realize their innovative visions. Our guest today, Gerald Hetrick, serves as a Burton D. Morgan mentor alongside other local serial founders and subject matter experts. These volunteers are passionate about sharing their time, talent, and lessons learned to grow and accelerate the next generation of entrepreneurial students and startup leaders. To learn more about Burton D. Morgan Mentoring and other free services available to Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs, go to jumpstart.org/startups. Burton D. Morgan Mentoring is made possible with funds from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.-----Connect with Gerald Hetrick on LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/geraldhetrick/ Follow Gerald Hetrick on Twitter — https://twitter.com/geraldhetrickLearn more about Gerald's EOS Practice — https://www.eosworldwide.com/gerald-hetrickLearn more about Bezlio — https://bezl.io/Learn more about Able (Acquired by Bullhorn) — https://www.bullhorn.com/products/able-by-bullhorn/-----For more episodes of Lay of The Land, visit https://www.layoftheland.fm/Past guests include Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Steve Potash (OverDrive), Ed Largest (Westfield), Ray Leach (JumpStart), Lila Mills (Signal Cleveland), Pat Conway (Great Lakes Brewing), Lindsay Watson (Augment Therapy), and many more.Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up for Lay of The Land's weekly newsletter — sign up here.Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe — https://twitter.com/sternjefeFollow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayofthelandhttps://www.jeffreys.page/
This week we discuss:00:53 Aleph Alpha raises $500m Series B in one of Europe's largest AI rounds ever03:56 What the pitch deck from Adaptive, a new AI startup raising at a $100m valuation, tells us07:15 French startup Quandela raises €50m to manufacture commercial quantum computers11:03 Swedish startup wants to ‘stream energy like music' on electric roads to charge cars as they drive18:21 10x more money goes to VC funds owned by all-male vs all-female teams
German AI startup Aleph Alpha has raised a Series B funding round of $500 million from a consortium of seven new investors, as well as existing investors from previous rounds.
In der Mittagsfolge sprechen wir heute mit Claude Ritter, Co-Founder und Managing Partner von Cavalry Ventures, über die überzeichnete Series-B-Runde von Aleph Alpha, in der das KI-Unternehmen mehr als eine halbe Milliarde US-Dollar eingeworben hat.Cavalry Ventures ist ein europäischer Risikokapitalfonds mit Schwerpunkt auf Pre-Seed- und Seed-Runden. Der VC verwaltet ein Vermögen von über 260 Millionen Euro und gehört zu den Bestandsinvestoren von Aleph Alpha. Das Startup möchte ein transparentes Innovationsökosystem aufbauen, das auf reproduzierbarer Forschung und offenem Austausch basiert und sich stark für Open-Source-Communities und akademische Partnerschaften engagiert. Der Ansatz besteht darin, verallgemeinerbare KI-Grundmodelle zu entwickeln, die die menschlichen Fähigkeiten im Umgang mit Daten erweitern und verbessern. Ihre Large Language Models sollen komplexe Texte auf der Grundlage minimaler menschlicher Eingaben verstehen sowie erstellen und so als virtuelle Assistenten in der Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion fungieren. Zu den Anwendungsfällen gehören die Strukturierung von Wissen, die Beantwortung komplexer Aufgaben und die Umwandlung, Zusammenfassung und Strukturierung hochspezialisierter, bürokratischer oder juristischer Sprache in leicht verständliche Alltagssprache. Dies ist in mehreren europäischen Sprachen möglich, wobei sie gleichzeitig sprachlich sensibel für die verschiedenen europäischen Kulturen bleibt. Aleph Alpha wurde im Jahr 2019 von Jonas Andrulis und Samuel Weinbach in Heidelberg gegründet. Das Unternehmen hat sich insbesondere auf Anwendungsfälle für die öffentliche Verwaltung und die Industrie spezialisiert.In einer Series B hat das KI-Startup nun mehr als eine halbe Milliarde US-Dollar unter der Führung von Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence (Ipai), Bosch Ventures und den Unternehmen der Schwarz-Gruppe eingesammelt. Zu den weiteren neuen Kapitalgebern zählen Christ&Company Consulting, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, SAP und Burda Principal. Zusätzlich haben sich bestehende institutionelle Investoren an der überzeichneten Runde beteiligt. Zur Gesamtsumme zählen auch ein umfangreiches Investitionspaket für die angewandte Forschung mit Ipai und Verpflichtungen zur gemeinsamen Geschäftsentwicklung und engen Kooperation mit einigen der führenden Unternehmen in internationalen Schlüsselindustrien. Diese Investition soll die deutsche und europäische Position für die Entwicklung von souveräner KI weiter stärken. Mit dem frischen Kapital wird Aleph Alpha die eigene KI-Forschung vorantreiben und die Entwicklung sowie Kommerzialisierung von generativer KI für die komplexesten und kritischsten Anwendungen in datenkritischen Branchen wie Gesundheitswesen, Finanzen, Recht, Regierung und Sicherheit beschleunigen.
In this week's Espresso, we cover news from Verqor, Endeavor, Fracttal, and more!Outline of this episode:[00:28] – Verqor raises $7.5M[00:37] – Interview with Hugo Garduño[03:38] – VAAS secures $2M Pre-seed round[03:52] – Lolocar expands to Uruguay[04:03] – Krealo invests in Plurall[04:14] – Endeavor launches $15M fund[04:24] – Fracttal raises $10M Series B round[04:37] – Axify secures $13M round[04:50] – Vopero closes $4M round[04:58] – Kuadra expands to Ecuador[05:11] – Enerlink secures $3.6M investment[05:25] – QI Tech raises $200M Series B roundResources & people mentioned:Startups: Verqor, VAAS, QI tech, Lolocar, Fracttal, Axify, Vopero, Kuadra, Enerlink, Plurall.VCs: Yara Growth Ventures, AB Seed Ventures, General Atlantic, Kayyak Ventures, Alpha Impact 8, Avalancha Ventures, Cencosud Ventures, Kayyak Ventures, Krealo.
Welcome back to the Scale By Numbers Podcast. In this episode, James Vanreusel interviews Cameron Newton, an investment manager and founding member of Relevance Ventures. Cameron shares his background, starting as an investment banker before transitioning into venture capital. Relevance Capital focuses on health and wellness investments, primarily in Series A and Series B stages. They employ a reverse barbell strategy, aiming for high returns with seed investments while also focusing on scaling businesses in the 1 to 10 million revenue range.The conversation then delves into the concept of impact investing. Cameron explains that Relevance Ventures defines impact from a ground-up perspective, building companies with impact-focused cultures, diverse boards, and management teams. They measure impact through the longevity and success of these companies, emphasizing that financial return is crucial for sustainability and long-term impact. They prioritize investments that serve underserved populations, use sustainable practices, and have readily available products.Key Takeaways:The importance of an AI component in any business.How to get a good introduction to VCs.The good timing to investing as valuations went down.Learn more about our guest:Cameron Newton's Linkedin | Relevance VenturesReady To Scale?But not ready to invest in a CFO? One of our bespoke packages can help you.Free Starter MembershipNon-Profit Enterprise PackageFor-Profit Enterprise PackageConnect with us because we love new friends!LinkedIn | Twitter |YouTube |WebsiteReady To Scale? But not ready to invest in a CFO? One of our bespoke packages can help you. Free Starter Membership Non-Profit Enterprise Package For-Profit Enterprise Package Connect with us because we love new friends!LinkedIn | Twitter |YouTube |Website
We're talking about the week's biggest startup and tech news with Mary Ann, Becca, and Alex. Here's what we got into:What happened to WeWork? As the shared office space company struggles to stay alive, we had a lot to say.Deals of the Week: Mary Ann wanted to chat about Charlie, which is building a neobank for seniors; Alex wanted to talk about an interesting non-profit-ish model to get startups and others access to H100s; Becca brought Almouneer to the table, an interesting healthtech play in the Middle East.From there we dug into massive fintech rounds, which are seemingly back. For more, you can read up on QI Tech, Tabby, and Next Insurance.And, finally, what to do when founding teams break up? Becca has notes.As always, Equity is back for you on Monday, but you can catch up with us in the meantime on X and Threads @EquityPod. Talk soon!For episode transcripts and more, head to Equity's Simplecast website.Equity drops at 7 a.m. PT every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts. TechCrunch also has a great show on crypto, a show that interviews foundersand more!
00:10 | Andreessen is a Techno-Optimist- Marc Andreessen is co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, a $35b AUM venture capital firm- "The Techno-Optimist Manifesto" celebrates potential of technology, markets, and human intelligence for societal progress and abundance- Challenges tech stagnation, anti-technology sentiment, and excessive tech regulation- Created in response to government and public apprehension on AI, the metaverse, nuclear technology, and other emerging tech01:40 | SpaceX 2nd Starship attempt- FAA completes safety review of SpaceX's Starship rocket, clearing major hurdle for its second liftoff- Next US Fish and Wildlife Service review and approve the new water deluge system- Launch date remains TBD02:32 | Startup bankruptcies could be a bottoming?- OliveAI, Convoy, Pebble, Hello Bello all declared bankruptcy or had a fire sale- Each were big companies that a few years back would have easily been able to raise additional capital to keep going- Large business failures like this force startup CEOs to recognize that they need to drive to profitability fast in order to control their own destiny and also acknowledge that the valuations of their businesses are not going back to 2021 levels- The goal is to get to market clearing prices and these realizations are catalysts to get the market there03:57 | X.com -57% to $19b- X announced a $19b internal valuation, -57% below the Musk purchase price of $44b- Musk envisions X as the ‘everything app', implying integration of functionalities like tweets, YouTube videos, checking accounts, Venmo, merchant payments, sports betting, news article micro-payments, and shopping- Investment thesis for X centers on Musk's ability to  actualize the 'everything app' concept, and  its potential adoption by US users akin to Chinese users' engagement with WeChat, the China ‘everything app'- WeChat a primary product for Tencent with a $373b market cap06:11 | Anthropic +400% in 5 months- Google invests $500m now and commits $1.5b in the future at a $25b post-money valuation (source Pitchbook)- Google previously invested $300m in Apr 2023 for a 10% stake- Amazon invested $1.25b in Sep 2023, with potential to add $2.75b at a future date07:18 | Big capital raises- Anthropic (www.anthropic.com) | $2.0b Series F, $25b valuation- Pony.ai (www.pony.ai) | $100m Series D2, $8.5b valuation- Island (www.island.io) | $100m Series C, $1.5b valuation- Zhizi Automobile (www.xn--i8sq31b1uyx4b.com) | $76m Series B, $1.45b valuation- AgentSync (www.agentsync.io) | $125m Series B, $1.25b valuation08:28 | Pre-IPO -0.21% for week- Week winners: Klarna +2.81%, Rippling +2.41%, Scale.ai +1.53%, Airtable +1.40%, Databricks +0.70%- Week losers: SpaceX -5.29%, Anthropic -2.82%, Deel -2.54%, Stripe -1.73%, Discord -1.64%- Top valuations: ByteDance $203b, SpaceX $152b, OpenAI $80b, Stripe $51b, Databricks $47b lead in current valuationInvest in pre-IPO stocks with AG Dillon Funds - www.agdillon.com
Sure, making comics is fun, but do we ever do serious work, like painting, sculpting, or other classical art forms?ON THIS WEEK'S SHOW...Do we ever do "classical" work?If tenacity is #1, what's #2?UPDATE: Dave's booth cost for SDCC '24UPDATE: NCS networkingUPDATE: Alaska Comics CampWhich to work on... popular, fun Series A or almost-done Series B?Black guttersYou get great rewards when you join the ComicLab Community on Patreon$2 — Early access to episodes$5 — Submit a question for possible use on the show AND get the exclusive ProTips podcast. Plus $2-tier rewards.Brad Guigar is the creator of Evil Inc and the author of The Webcomics Handbook. Dave Kellett is the creator of Sheldon and Drive.
In this episode MMC Partner, Ollie Richards, sits down with Kevin Cook, founder and CEO of TreasurySpring - an MMC portfolio company helping firms of all sizes unlock and protect the true value of their cash assets. Ollie and Kevin discuss what is like to build a business in “one of the least innovative corners of the financial markets” and convince investors and employees to join you on the journey. And, having raised a $29 million Series B led by Balderton Capital in the summer of 2023, Kevin shares insights on business building why it was so crucial that the business could scale in a capital efficient way. Listen to the full conversation now.
In this episode, we discuss the significant Series B funding of AI software developer Moreh, receiving a hefty $22M investment backed by giants AMD and Korean telco KT. Explore the implications of this backing and what it could mean for the future of AI software development. Investor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Get on the AI Box Waitlist: https://AIBox.ai/ Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/739308654562189 Follow me on X: https://twitter.com/jaeden_ai
In this episode, we delve into the exciting world of Moreh's $22M Series B funding round, proudly supported by technology giant AMD and Korean telecommunications leader KT Telecom. Explore the strategic collaborations and innovations that are driving this substantial investment in the future of technology and communications. Join us for an insightful conversation that unravels the significance and potential of this funding for Moreh and the industry in this must-listen podcast. Get on the AI Box Waitlist: https://AIBox.ai/Join our ChatGPT Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/739308654562189/Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaeden_ai
New Podcast Episode Season 6 #133! Rochan Sankar, Founder, CEO and President of Enfabrica joins podcast host Jason Stoughton to talk about their Accelerated Compute Fabric Solutions, the challenges and opportunities in the AI market today and why they were able to raise $125 million in a Series B with Nvidia as part of the investment group. Sign up for The Pulse of AI newsletter to get the latest conversations with the leaders who are making AI a reality and building the future. Sign up at www.thepulseofai.com and follow us on X @thepulseofai
In this bonus episode of the Propcast, Tabitha is at Blueprint in Las Vegas, where she is joined by Julieta Moradei, Managing Partner and Founder at Overlay Capital, where they explore why the construction space has been slow to adopt technology, the startups that are leading the way in digitalisation, and Julieta dives into the Women in Construction Tech community. Women in Construction Tech is dedicated to empowering female founders, investors, and adopters to help create opportunities, and develop relationships for women driving innovation in the construction industry. Julieta explains some of the DEI trends she predicts to take full flow in the next 18 months and how she hopes to see more and more women coming into the construction space. Companies mentioned Y Combinator McKinsey Autodesk BuiltWorlds Blueprint Shoutouts Antonia Soler Episode Highlights Julieta talks us through her journey into the construction space They discuss why the construction industry is so under-digitalised compared to that of other sectors. The lack of adoption of technology past Series B Julieta's experience in the VC space The ‘missing middle' that is the biggest barrier to technology adoption in construction The Women in ConTech platform and their mission Key Takeaways That's when I realized that in order for you to actually be able to adopt technology in the space, you need to have a catalytic pilot project – Julieta It's one of the largest markets in the world in terms of its value, yet least digitized. – Julieta But I think what's going to be even more interesting is solutions that are integrating together and bringing a lot of these point solutions together – Julieta About our guest Julieta Moradei Julieta is the Managing Partner of the recently launched Overlay Capital Build. Overlay Build is part of the asset manager, Overlay Capital. Overlay Build is a consultancy working to accelerate adoption of critical digital transformation technologies in the built environment by connecting innovative technologies with adopters. We specialize in advising technology adopters with significant real estate holdings like multinational corporates, contractors and real estate developers in need of innovative digital technology solutions. We can help you identify solutions that can address their project needs, develop adoption and implementation strategies at an organizational and project level, and track financial and impact ROI of technologies. Julieta is a structural engineer and architect, turned social entrepreneur, and venture capitalist investing in early-stage startups mitigating the biggest barriers in the built environment. Her unique path from technical design to VC, has led her to hyperfocus on innovation in the construction industry, and empowering entrepreneurs through catalytic partnerships for the past decade. Her career path ranges from technical engineering to venture capital: from structural engineering at Disney and Arup, to creating an R&D team to mitigate the biggest barriers in the housing crisis, to then launching and managing a venture capital firm investing in construction technology. As a founding member and former Partner of Hometeam Ventures, Julieta launched, fundraised, and managed operations of the venture fund investing in early-stage start-ups bringing breakthrough technology to the world's largest - but least innovative - industries: construction and housing. This was a spin-off from New Story Homes (YCombinator) where she kickstarted and led as Head of R&D. New Story Homes built over 3,000 homes across Latin America, and in 2018, invested in ICON and built the world's first 3D printed housing technology; in 2022, ICON raised its Series B with a $2B valuation and has partnerships with NASA, HUD, etc. Her passion is to pursue impact-driven projects through innovation and entrepreneurship to digitize the built environment. She has an M.S. in structural engineering from UC Berkeley, a bachelor's in structural engineering and architecture, and a research assistant in Boston, Berkeley, and Switzerland. Her academic and industry research in AEC is focused on circular economy, virtual reality, automated drone inspection, resiliency, and sustainability. Julieta is passionate about bridging the gap between architecture, engineering, and construction through collaborative design to maximize innovation for social impact and climate change. If you would like to learn more, feel free to send me a message or email me at email@example.com. Overlay Capital Overlay Capital is an US-based asset manager investing in venture and private equity across the sustainable technology spectrum from innovation to infrastructure, with a focus on overlooked and hard-to-access opportunities. We seek to capture the opportunity driving the mega-trend toward sustainable technologies that will reshape industries and propel our economy for decades to come, with a commitment to superior risk-adjusted returns. For more information, please visit us at www.overlaycapital.com. About our host Tabitha Francis Tabitha spearheads all multifamily and residential related recruitment across North America at LMRE which has rapidly become the market-leading global built environment recruitment platform and search consultancy. Tabitha has worked with clients from pre-seed to Post IPO, on searches from entry level to C Suite. Since she started 2.5 years ago, the North American Client base has gone from 25 to 100+ and they now have a successful series of 'Built Environment Bulletins' showcasing growing businesses and innovative products and platforms in the space
About Josh Josh Jensen is the CEO and co-founder of Inspectify, a venture-backed technology platform in the property inspection space. Inspectify streamlines the property inspection experience across the entire property lifecycle through its network of 2,000+ inspectors and proprietary inspection and data technology. The company is backed by prominent investors including Nine Four VC, Foundation Capital, Munich Re, DivcoWest and top executives from startups such as Opendoor, Built Technologies, Side, Sundae, Flyhomes, and Steadily. Before Inspectify, Josh was the Vice President of Operations at Flyhomes, a nationwide real estate brokerage, where he was responsible for all real estate operations for the company and helped scale the business from seed to Series B. Josh is also an active real estate investor, holding rental properties on both the East and West coast. He has an MS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Josh resides in Seattle, WA, with his wife, Mary, two daughters, and a newborn son.Connect with Josh on LinkedInAbout InspectifyInspectify is a venture-backed, vertically-integrated technology platform in the property inspection space.Inspectify streamlines the home inspection experience for real estate agents and their clients through its network of 2,000+ inspectors and proprietary inspection software, including a mobile inspection app.Inspectify helps a broad range of partners in real estate, such as agents, buyers, investors, lenders or property managers, collect comprehensive data from a property in a standardized, clear format.Partners use Inspectify to add efficiency and speed to their transactions, as well as to gain insight into the true condition of a property and its potential ROI. Connect with Inspectify on LinkedIn Check out Inspectify
This is our Friday show, and we're talking about the week's biggest startup and tech news. Mary Ann and Alex ran as a pair this week, and here's what they got into:Deals of the Week: Allara raised $10 million for women's hormonal health, Agnikul raised $26.7 million for its orbital launch technologies.Beef in the (leased) boardroom: WeWork is irked by Codi, which is hammering the well-known shared-office giant in an advertising campaign. Meanwhile, Anyplace raised more capital to fund its digital-nomad friendly home rental business.Plaid wants to get Paid: News that Plaid hired a CFO kicked off a predictable cycle of speculation that it will go public. Yes, but when is the question, and our view is not for a while.Finally, ChatGPT is online, and VCs are pretty darn bullish about the current AI wave.In case you missed it, we had a great chat with a Crunchbase analyst earlier this week about all things Q3 VC! As always, Equity is back on Monday, but you can keep up with us in the meantime on X and Threads.For episode transcripts and more, head to Equity's Simplecast website.Equity drops at 7 a.m. PT every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts. TechCrunch also has a great show on crypto, a show that interviews founders and more!
In this episode, I spoke with Neal Desai, CEO of lease-to-own startup Kafene. We had the chance to discuss:* Kafene's recently announced Series B extension* The impact of an uncertain economic environment on Kafene's business* Regulatory activity in the lease-to-own space* Where Kafene is heading in 2024* and much, much more!Existing subscriber? Please consider supporting this newsletter by upgrading to a paid subscription. New here? Subscribe to get Fintech Business Weekly each Sunday: Get full access to Fintech Business Weekly at fintechbusinessweekly.substack.com/subscribe
00:10 | $10b valuation for Anduril- Raising $400m to $500m at a $10b valuation, 17.6% increase from last round- Use of funds = acquisitions, research/development- Recently won $1.0b contract from US Special Ops Command01:07 | OpenAI next “Apple App Store”- releasing developer tools on Nov 6 conference- updates will reduce costs by 20x and include vision/image capabilities- current tender offer at $90b, 210% above its Apr 2023 round just 7 months ago02:51 | Loom acquired for $975m- Atlassian is acquiring for -36% vs last round ($1.53b)- Loom provides an asynchronous video solution- Loom has 25m customers, 5m monthly video conversations; Ford, Tesla, Amazon are customers03:46 | Flexport lays of 20% of staff - 660 of 3300 employees impacted- 70% drop in 1H 2023 revenue- Former CEO Dave Clark removed five weeks ago04:14 | Big capital raises- Electric Hydrogen | $380m Series C, $1.0b valuation- Headway | $125m Series C, $1.0b valuation- Bizongo | $50m Series E, $980m valuation- SuperOrdinary | $58m Series B, $800m valuation- Pulumi | $41m Series C, $391m valuation04:57 | Pre-IPO 5.75% for week- Week winners: Anthropic +100.1% (not a typo), Rippling +26.2%, Hugging Face +22.9%, OpenAI +14.7%, Brex +8.3%- Week losers: Epic Games -5.5%, Airtable -4.5%, ByteDance -3.7%, Cohere -3.0%, Deel -2.2%- Top valuations: ByteDance $203b, SpaceX $157b, OpenAI $77b, Stripe $53b, Databricks $45b