Day: March 5, 2021

A first look at Coursera’s S-1 filing



After TechCrunch broke the news yesterday that Coursera was planning to file its S-1 today, the edtech company officially dropped the document Friday evening.

Coursera was last valued at $2.4 billion by the private markets, when it most recently raised a Series F round in October 2020 that was worth $130 million.

Coursera’s S-1 filing offers a glimpse into the finances of how an edtech company, accelerated by the pandemic, performed over the past year. It paints a picture of growth, albeit one that came at steep expense.

Revenue

In 2020, Coursera saw $293.5 million in revenue. That’s a roughly 59% increase from the year prior when the company recorded $184.4 million in top line. During that same period, Coursera posted a net loss of nearly $67 million, up 46% from the previous year’s $46.7 million net deficit.

Notably the company had roughly the same noncash, share-based compensation expenses in both years. Even if we allow the company to judge its profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis, Coursera’s losses still rose from 2019 to 2020, expanding from $26.9 million to $39.8 million.

To understand the difference between net losses and adjusted losses it’s worth unpacking the EBITDA acronym. Standing for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization,” EBITDA strips out some nonoperating costs to give investors a possible better picture of the continuing health of a business, without getting caught up in accounting nuance. Adjusted EBITDA takes the concept one step further, also removing the noncash cost of share-based compensation, (Read more...)

Where do you learn from?


This post is by Giff Constable from giffconstable.com


I’ve learned more about being a good product leader from people outside of product than inside. There, I said it.

Maybe this is because there were fewer to learn from back in the day. Nowadays we have amazing people like Gib Biddle, Melissa Perri, Teresa Torres, Tommi Forsstrom, just to name a few among so many I respect and follow.

Still, my biggest mind-expanding moments have been from brilliant people in engineering, design, data science, and other fields. This is not news — interdisciplinary thinking is what made Bell Labs and Sante Fe Institute so amazing.

However, in online communities, I see far more knowledge exchange happening within the disciplines than across them. Designers follow design leaders, PMs follow product leaders, etc.

This is natural, but there are some negative side effects, and not just in missing out on important ideas from different perspectives.

It can lead to some odd sicknesses in our respective fields, where people talk up their own discipline to make it ever-more IMPORTANT.

Example: “It’s product’s job to set the what and why, and design and engineering’s job to think about how.”

Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me. Get over yourself.

As product management has grown as a field, it has pushed into the UX world. Older designers rolled their eyes and thought, “Yeah, you just invented the wheel again [golf clap]. BTW, why do you get to own this now?”

Similarly, as the capital-d Design profession has expanded into service design, “design strategy”, and (Read more...)

Clearing the Clutter: Mining Research, the NI 43-101, and Due Diligence



The following content is sponsored by Prospector Portal

Mining Research NI 43-101Mining Research NI 43-101

Clearing the Clutter of Research: NI 43-101 and Due Diligence

Mining companies offer the potential for great investment returns, but they also carry many risks because of the complex science behind mining and mineral exploration. This complexity can deceive, so it is important to have standards on how companies report the technical data.

This infographic comes to us from Prospector Portal and takes a look at the events that led to the creation of the the NI 43-101, and the variety of information a mining project generates.

Why Does Mining Research Matter?

Bre-X and the Creation of the NI 43-101

The 1997 PDAC was the peak for one mineral exploration company, Bre-X. The annual event in Toronto serves as the gathering point for the global mining industry to raise capital, sell services, and highlight successes. It was there that Bre-X received an award for finding one of the largest gold deposits in the world, the Busang gold deposit in Indonesia.

Soon after the conference, Bre-X’s exploration manager fell to his death from a helicopter. There was mounting evidence that the junior’s project was a hoax and that the company’s geologist salted samples with gold from other sources.

In May 1997, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) delisted Bre-X, vaporizing $3 billion in value as the company’s shares became worthless. The fraud deceived investors and undermined confidence in financial markets.

The TSE and the Ontario Securities Commission established the Mining Standards Task Force (Read more...)

Dan Siroker’s new startup Scribe automates Zoom note-taking



Optimizely co-founder Dan Siroker said the idea for his new startup Scribe goes back to a couple of personal experiences — and although Scribe’s first product is focused on Zoom, those experiences weren’t Zoom-related at all.

Instead, Siroker recalled starting to go deaf and then having an “epiphany” the first time he put in a hearing aid, as he recovered a sense he thought he’d lost.

“That really was the spark that got me thinking about other opportunities to augment things your body naturally fails at,” he said.

Siroker added that memory was an obvious candidate, particularly since he also has aphantasia — the inability to visualize mental images, which made it “hard to remember certain things.”

It may jog your own memory if I note that Siroker founded Optimizely with Pete Koomen in 2010, then stepped down from the CEO role in 2017, with the testing and personalization startup acquired by Episerver last year. (And now Episerver itself is rebranding as Optimizely.)

Fast forward to the present day and Siroker is now CEO at Scribe, which is taking signups for its first product. That product integrates into Zoom meetings and transforms them into searchable, shareable transcripts.

Siroker demonstrated it for me during our Zoom call. Scribe appears in the meeting as an additional participant, recording video and video while creating a real-time transcript. During or after the meeting, users can edit the transcript, watch or listen to the associated (Read more...)

Nullius in Verba


This post is by naval from Naval


Take no one’s word for it

Naval: The Beginning of Infinity is not an easy book to read. Deutsch wrote it for other physicists and philosophers. He has a certain peer group that he respects, and that respects him, and he has to meet them at their level.

I wanted to understand the principles in the book so I could confirm or refute them for myself. I love the old motto from the Royal Society, “Nullius in Verba,” which means, “Take no one’s word for it.” In other words, figure it out yourself. That’s the only way to know anything. 

To do that, I was reading the book and started reading blog posts on it. Eventually I came across Brett Hall and started listening to his podcast, ToKCast, which stands for the “Theory of Knowledge-Cast.” I’ve brought him on this podcast to discuss the ideas in The Beginning of Infinity

Brett, listening to your podcast helped me clarify a lot of these principles. I would love to explore the depth, clarity, the reach, and the importance of these ideas. Then hopefully someone out there can become smarter by it.

Brett Hall: Hello Naval, it’s great to be here. You’ve raised so many interesting aspects of The Beginning of Infinity, which has become a real passion of mine. Like a lot of people who enter science, when I was at school I thought, “Well, I want to be an astronomer, so I’ll go to a university (Read more...)

Nullius in Verba


This post is by naval from Naval


Take no one’s word for it

Naval: The Beginning of Infinity is not an easy book to read. Deutsch wrote it for other physicists and philosophers. He has a certain peer group that he respects, and that respects him, and he has to meet them at their level.

I wanted to understand the principles in the book so I could confirm or refute them for myself. I love the old motto from the Royal Society, “Nullius in Verba,” which means, “Take no one’s word for it.” In other words, figure it out yourself. That’s the only way to know anything. 

To do that, I was reading the book and started reading blog posts on it. Eventually I came across Brett Hall and started listening to his podcast, ToKCast, which stands for the “Theory of Knowledge-Cast.” I’ve brought him on this podcast to discuss the ideas in The Beginning of Infinity

Brett, listening to your podcast helped me clarify a lot of these principles. I would love to explore the depth, clarity, the reach, and the importance of these ideas. Then hopefully someone out there can become smarter by it.

Brett Hall: Hello Naval, it’s great to be here. You’ve raised so many interesting aspects of The Beginning of Infinity, which has become a real passion of mine. Like a lot of people who enter science, when I was at school I thought, “Well, I want to be an astronomer, so I’ll go to a university (Read more...)

Ranked: The Performance of Restaurant Stocks on the NYSE


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


restaurant stocks 12 month performance

The Briefing

  • In the last 12 months, the performance of restaurant stocks on the NYSE ranges from 90% to -21%
  • The average return for restaurant stocks has been 16.8%, underperforming the NYSE Composite’s 23.8% over the same time period.
  • Executing on a digital ecosystem has been a big driver of value for the best performers on the list

Restaurant Stocks on the NYSE

Restaurants, arguably more than other industries, have had to adjust swiftly to a new and unrecognizable landscape during the pandemic. And the level of preparedness towards adverse and unpredictable conditions reflects in the last 12 month (LTM) stock price performance of the 18 restaurant stocks on the NYSE.

The performance for this basket of stocks ranges from a high of 90% to a low of -21%. The companies that have rewarded shareholders are at the forefront of industry trends, doubling down on a digital ecosystem through concepts like membership programs, ghost kitchens, delivery, and mobile sales.

Winners and Losers

The vast division of stock price performance has a David and Goliath component to it in that the larger companies with deeper pockets have had the ability to invest in modern initiatives.

The top five performing stocks have an average market cap of $14 billion, while the bottom five possess an average of $630 million.

StockLast 12 Month PerformanceMarket Cap ($M)
Brinker International, Inc.90.85%$3,120
Shake Shack, Inc.88.63%$4,970
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.70.19%$40,580
Yum China Holdings, Inc.37.53% (Read more...)

Eco raises $26M in a16z-led round to scale its digital cryptocurrency platform



‍Eco, which has built out a digital global cryptocurrency platform, announced Friday that it has raised $26 million in a funding round led by a16z Crypto.

Founded in 2018, the SF-based startup’s platform is designed to be used as a payment tool around the world for daily-use transactions. The company emphasizes that it’s “not a bank, checking account, or credit card.”

“We’re building something better than all of those combined,” it said in a blog post. The company’s mission has also been described as an effort to use cryptocurrency as a way “to marry savings and spending,” according to this CoinList article.

Eco users can earn up to 5% annually on their deposits and get 5% cashback on when transacting with merchants such as Amazon, Uber, and others. Next up: the company says it will give its users the ability to pay bills, pay friends and more “all from the same, single wallet.” That same wallet, it says, rewards people every time they spend or save.

After a “successful” alpha test with millions of dollars deposited, the company’s Eco App is now available to the public.

A slew of other VC firms participated in Eco’s latest financing, including Founders Fund, Activant Capital, Slow Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Tribe Capital, Valor Capital Group, and more than one hundred other funds and angels.  Expa and Pantera Capital co-led the company’s $8.5 million funding round.

CoinList co-founder Andy Bromberg stepped down from his (Read more...)

Techstars Foundation Accelerate Equity


This post is by Valet from Feld Thoughts


The Techstars Foundation recently announced a new program called Accelerate Equity.

We created the Techstars Foundation in 2015 to help make innovation and entrepreneurship more accessible and inclusive. Since then, the Techstars Foundation has been investing in and accelerating nonprofits that deliver scalable impact for underestimated entrepreneurs.

Through Accelerate Equity, the Techstars Foundation identifies early-stage nonprofits and ideas to empower and support underestimated entrepreneurs. Each non-profit has a significant nominating donor. We then call on the Techstars network to pitch in, provide mentorship, and add additional financial donations. The Techstars Foundation will add a 5% match to the total raised at the end of the calendar quarter.

Amy and I helped get this program started by nominating and underwriting initial grants to Grid 110, Sistahbiz, and HBCUvc. The Techstars Foundation added Knox St. Studios to the list.

  • Grid 110 – pathways to success for entrepreneurs in LA
  • Knox St. Studios – building community wealth through entrepreneurship in North Carolina  
  • Sistahbiz – membership organization for Black women entrepreneurs 
  • HBCUvc – directing how capital is formed and distributed to increase opportunities for Black and Latinx innovators

If you are interested in supporting any of these organizations, please click on the respective link above or reach out to the Techstars Foundation. Or, for the three I’m involved in, drop me an email also, and I’ll make an appropriate connection.

The post Techstars Foundation Accelerate Equity appeared first on Feld Thoughts.