Day: June 24, 2021

What We’re Reading



Births/deaths:

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Outperformance:

He’d been solidly in the second quartile every year for 14 years in a row. And where do you think that put him for the 14 years overall within his competitive universe? 4th percentile. In normal life, we say, well, if you range from 27 to 47, where are you on average? About 37. And the answer in his case was 4. By being in the top half for 14 years, he was in the top decile for the whole period. And I thought that was a great realization.

Code:

Software is a lever on the real world.

Someone writes code, and all of a sudden riders and drivers coordinate a completely new kind of real-world transportation system, and we call it Lyft. Someone writes code, and all of a sudden homeowners and guests coordinate a completely new kind of real-world real estate system, and we call it AirBNB. Someone writes code, etc., and we have cars that drive themselves, and planes that fly themselves, and wristwatches that tell us if we’re healthy or ill.

Work all day:

“Research indicates that five hours is about the maximum that most of us can concentrate hard on something,” says Alex Pang, founder of Silicon Valley consultancy Strategy and Rest and author of several books examining the links between shorter working hours and productivity. “There are periods when you can push past that, but the reality is that most of us have about that good work time (Read more...)

World-Building and the Early Internet


This post is by Alex Danco from Welcome to Dancoland


Hello everyone! This week in Dancoland, Jim O’Shaughnessy and I have a fresh podcast recording for your enjoyment. Alex Danco: Everyone’s job is World-Building | Infinite Loops You can listen to the whole episode at the link above. Here’s a lightly edited transcript that pulls out what we talked about in the first half of the show, which is all about: -The difference between capital and sales in a world of scarcity versus a world of abundance -Why everyone’s job is world-building now -World-building on the early internet, and how… Read more World-Building and the Early Internet

Regulating Software


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


I understand that regulators and elected officials need to raise concerns about new technologies and their impact on society. It is their job or at least part of their job. But I am also dismayed regularly by how poorly many elected officials and regulators understand the technologies they are talking about.

In particular, I am deeply concerned with how poorly many elected officials and regulators understand blockchains, smart contracts, and decentralized applications and organizations. They assume that these things are run by companies and people and can be regulated with traditional corporate regulatory activities.

What people need to understand is that blockchains, smart contracts, and decentralized applications and organizations are not companies. They are software. And they can and do run without any company operating them.

Let’s look at Bitcoin. There is no Bitcoin Inc. There is no company to sue. The founder is unkown and may not exist. So she can’t be sued either. There is nobody to call before Congress. There is no entity to make regulatory filings.

AMMs are smart contracts. These smart contracts operate liquidity pools that allow for decentralized trading of assets without any company operating them, controlling them, or managing them. Once these software programs are published on a decentralized blockchain, they just keep running without any intervention by anyone.

I could go on and on, but I expect you get the point.

So when someone says that one or many of these decentralized software applications needs to be regulated or, god forbid, shut (Read more...)

“Growth and scaling are the hardest things to get right” – Chainalysis’ Michael Gronager


This post is by Philippe Botteri from Cracking The Code



Earlier this year, Chainalysis announced its $100 million funding round, valuing the company at more than $2 billion and marking the fact that cryptocurrency is now mainstream. Since its Series C in November 2020, Chainalysis has increased ARR by more than 100% year-over-year, doubled its client base and now supports more than 100 digital assets across 10 native blockchains (around 90% of cryptocurrency economic activity). It’s been quite a journey getting here and there’s still a way to go as cryptocurrencies integrate with our global financial system.

I sat down (virtually) with Chainalysis co-founder and CEO Michael Gronager to discuss his learnings from almost seven years at the helm of a high-growth company. He shared his tips for building a global business, hiring, what he’d do differently and more…


The Chainalysis journey

PB: Let’s go back to the start. What was your career prior to founding first Kraken and then Chainalysis? What attracted you to entrepreneurship?

Before Kraken, I was planning and running public research infrastructure projects across Europe. Essentially, I was just doing politics and talking to research councils to get funding. I got to a point where I thought the purpose of the education and research systems we were creating was for people to build companies and that those who could do, should. After a conversation with a colleague, I decided to build something myself. I started coding iPhone apps and got one off the ground for a US company. This gave me some financial freedom, (Read more...)

Nicolas Brusson discusses BlaBlaCar’s journey from French success story to global winner


This post is by Philippe Botteri from Cracking The Code



“It was all about being practical and preserving culture” 

- BlaBlaCar's Nicolas Brusson

Last month, BlaBlaCar announced its $115 million funding round to support its growth strategy and continue its mission of becoming the go-to marketplace for shared travel. Since its founding in 2006, BlaBlaCar’s story has had many chapters. After rapid international expansion across several continents, as the founding team brought Silicon Valley’s global ambition into Europe, and the extension of its offering to buses and multimodal transportation, BlaBlaCar is preparing for the travel rebound expected as the world reopens. Throughout the pandemic, the company’s community-based model showed strong resilience while the importance of its culture and values shone through. Today, more than 90 million BlaBlaCar community members travel by carpool of long-distance buses across 22 markets. 

Co-founder and CEO Nicolas Brusson spoke to me about BlaBlaCar’s early ambitions to be a European rather than local country winner and its progression to global player. From the company’s approach to international expansion and encouraging entrepreneurship within the team to the importance of avoiding technical debt and setting aside time to “think, read, absorb, and rethink”, read on to find out more…

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you end up heading to Silicon Valley from France to join a startup?

It was entirely by accident to be honest! The original plan was to finish my master’s degree, do a PhD at Berkeley, and become a scientist. But the Valley in 1999 was a new world of startups, venture (Read more...)

Gloat: the marketplace unlocking workforce potential for Fortune 500 companies


This post is by Philippe Botteri from Cracking The Code



Fun fact: it seems that I end up investing in a cloud HR company every seven years. The first one in 2007 was Cornerstone OnDemand, the second one was Peopledoc in 2014 and the third one is Gloat in 2021. What all of these companies have in common is the ambition to create a category in the HR space: Cornerstone OnDemand pioneered talent management in the cloud, Peopledoc focused on HR Service delivery in the cloud and Gloat is launching a totally new but very high potential platform - an internal talent marketplace that unlocks the workforce potential of large companies. 

As companies are in the midst of adapting their teams to be more flexible and take advantage of remote working, new tools are needed to optimise productivity and ensure equality of opportunities. Gloat has pioneered the Talent Marketplace to solve that, and it’s now becoming a strategic tool for global enterprises. Some of the world’s largest, most forward-looking companies are already benefiting from the workforce agility enabled by Gloat’s AI-powered platform. As the company today announces its $57m Series C round led by Accel, I sat down with Gloat’s co-founder and CEO Ben Reuveni to discuss what inspired him to set off on this entrepreneurial journey, how he has seen approaches to talent change in light of COVID-19 and much more…

Please tell us a bit about founding Gloat, and what inspired you to start the company?

I was in Israel’s intelligence unit, surrounded by computer gurus, (Read more...)

Accept.inc secures $90M in debt and equity to scale its digital mortgage lending platform



A lot of startups were built to help people make all-cash offers on homes with the purpose of gaining an edge against other buyers, especially in ultra-competitive markets. 

Accepti.inc is a Denver-based company that is attempting to create a new category in real estate technology. To help scale its digital mortgage lending platform, the company announced today that it has secured $90 million in debt and equity – with $78 million in debt and $12 million in equity. Signal Fire led the equity portion of its financing, which also included participation from existing seed investors Y Combinator and DN Capital.

Accept.inc describes itself as an iLender, or a “technology-enabled lender” that gives people a way to submit all-cash offers on a home upon qualifying for a mortgage.

Using its platform, a buyer gets qualified first and then can start looking for homes that fall at or under the amount he or she is approved for. They can purchase a more expensive home, but any amount above what they are approved for would have to come out of pocket. Historically, most buyers don’t know that they will have to pay out of pocket until they’ve made an offer on a specific home and an appraisal comes under the amount of the price they are paying for a home. In those cases, the buyer has to cough up the difference out of pocket. With Accept.inc., its execs tout, buyers know upfront how much they are approved for and can spend on a (Read more...)