The Hardest Round to Raise for Startups

Over the past few years, I’ve debated the existence of a Series A crunch and found in that analysis that the volume of Series As was increasing. This trend hasn’t abated. The number of Series As has grown by 31% annually for the past 5 years, reaching more than 831 Series As in 2013, up from 284 in 2009. In short, no founder should be concerned about the Series A market.

The Hardest Round to Raise for Startups

Over the past few years, I’ve debated the existence of a Series A crunch and found in that analysis that the volume of Series As was increasing. This trend hasn’t abated. The number of Series As has grown by 31% annually for the past 5 years, reaching more than 831 Series As in 2013, up from 284 in 2009. In short, no founder should be concerned about the Series A market.

Rather, the Series B market is worrisome. At the moment, Series Bs are the hardest rounds to raise for startups. The data proves the point. The chart above compares the number of Series A rounds and the number of Series B rounds recorded by Crunchbase over the past eight years. Series As have grown dramatically, by more than 30% per year. In contrast, Series Bs lag behind at 10% annual growth. Before 2013, the Series B market was basically

Continue reading “The Hardest Round to Raise for Startups”

Bear Hugging Android

From a consumer perspective, a mobile operating system has to offer certain experiences to be considered a viable option. Many of the challengers to iOS & Android have painfully learned this. The most important mobile services are maps and app stores, so consumers can use these devices to navigate, search around them based on location, and to leverage all of the sensors and capacities of the phone. Beyond these, there are also a variety of secondary and tertiary mobile services including communication, games, media, cloud backup, and more. All of these have one thing in common, however: they are massive web services at their core.

Controlling the critical mobile operating system services creates outsized value for companies — independent of who owns the underlying platform. Google arguably has the biggest advantage through its Google Mobile Services (GMS) suite which are anchored by Maps & the Play Store. On Android it uses this advantage to require inclusion of secondary and tertiary Google services as well as to dictate product design requirements in its interest in exchange for giving partners a license to the core GMS suite. This is a tremendous leverage except for places like China, where there has been a proliferation of alternatives for key mobile operating system services.

While there have been a handful of investments in new mobile operating systems (startups such as CyanogenMod and Xiaomi which are based on Android while Windows Phone, Firefox OS and Tizen have all been built from scratch by large companies), there hasn’t been as much focus on competing with GMS. It is hard to imagine a startup viably competing with Google’s offering in maps or app store. Larger companies such as Amazon, Yandex & Microsoft (with Nokia), are starting to do this, but it’s very expensive to directly compete in these core mobile operating system services.

For a while I’ve been curious if there were other ways to compete with GMS but never found anything convincing. That is, until Facebook bought Whatsapp. I’ll get the disclaimer out of the way: I own Facebook stock, I’m a former Facebook employee, and I’m a current happy user of Facebook.

Back to Whatsapp and Facebook…it turns out that a great way to compete with GMS is not to compete head on with Google, but to control other critical points of the mobile operating system experience. With the shift to over the top communication apps a new critical mobile operating system service is emerging. Specifically, Facebook is now in a position to offer a preload of “Facebook Mobile Services” (FMS) that includes Whatsapp, Instagram, Paper, Messenger, and other Facebook apps and services. Combined, these apps represent an emerging mobile communication suite that is so

Continue reading “Bear Hugging Android”

The Machinery of Blogging

I’ve been getting a few questions about the tools I use to publish this blog, so I figured I’d write about it and reveal the machinery behind the curtain. I use four main tools Jekyll, Github Mou, and RStudio. Jekyll is the blogging engine; Github is the hosting provider; Mou is the app I use to write these posts; and RStudio is the place I analyze data and make charts.

The Machinery of Blogging

I’ve been getting a few questions about the tools I use to publish this blog, so I figured I’d write about it and reveal the machinery behind the curtain. I use four main tools Jekyll, Github Mou, and RStudio. Jekyll is the blogging engine; Github is the hosting provider; Mou is the app I use to write these posts; and RStudio is the place I analyze data and make charts.

The most important tool is the engine. I chose Jekyll because Jekyll sites load faster than most other blogging platforms. Jekyll is an open source project created by two engineers at Github. At Google, I saw the importance of page load times on user experience and that has always stuck with me. Also, I wanted the ability to instrument my blog to run experiments and understand the impact on reading habits which meant hosting my own blog rather than using Continue reading “The Machinery of Blogging”

New RFS — Breakthrough Technologies

Can the Bloomberg Terminal be “Toppled”?

In the eye of some entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, the Bloomberg terminal is a bit of an anomaly, perhaps even an anachronism.  In the era of free information on the Internet and open source Big Data tools, here’s a business that makes billions every year charging its users to access data that it generally obtains from third parties, as well as the tools to analyze it.  You’ll hear the occasional jab at its interface as reminiscent of the 1980s.  And at a time of accelerating “unbundling” across many industries, including financial services, the Bloomberg terminal is the ultimate “bundling” play: one product, one price, which means that that the average user uses only a small percentage of the terminal’s 30,000+ functions.  Yet, 320,000 people around the world pay about $20,000 a year to use it.

If you think that this sounds like a perfect opportunity for disruption or “unbundling” at the hand of nimble, aggressive startups, you’re not alone.  I spent four years at Bloomberg Ventures, and this was a topic that I heard debated countless times before, during and after my tenure there. Most recent example: a well written article in Institutional Investor a few weeks ago declared the start of “The Race to Topple Bloomberg“, with a separate article highlighting my friends at Estimize and Kensho as startups that “Take Aim at Bloomberg“.

Yet, over the years, the terminal has seen its fair share of would be disruptors come and go. Every now and then, a new wave of financial data startups seems to be appearing, attempting to build businesses that, overtly or not, compete with some parts of the Bloomberg terminal.  Soon enough, however, those companies seem to disappear, through failure, pivot or acquisition.

What gives? And where are the opportunities for financial data startups?

Frontal assault: good luck

To start, Bloomberg is not exactly your run-of-the-mill, lazy incumbent. Perhaps I drank too much of the Kool-Aid while I was there, but I left the company very impressed.  Bloomberg, which was itself a startup not that long ago, comes armed with a powerful brand, deep pockets, a fiercely competitive culture, a product that results from billions of dollars of R&D investment over the years, and a technology platform that basically never goes down or even slows down, supported by generally excellent customer service.

But great incumbents have been disrupted before.  So there is perhaps another set of less immediately apparent reasons why the terminal has so far been very resilient to disruption by startups:

1.  It is protected by strong network effects.  One surprisingly misunderstood reason to the long term success of the Bloomberg terminal is that, beyond the data and analytics, it

Continue reading “Can the Bloomberg Terminal be “Toppled”?”

Are VC Mega-Rounds the New Normal?

Each morning’s news seems to bring another fund-raising announcement of ever larger scale. Just a few months ago, Pure Storage raised $150M in the largest ever venture investment in a storage company. These record financings certainly generate significant press interest. But how representative of the fund raising environment are these mega-rounds?
The chart above breaks down fund-raising activity in US tech companies using Crunchbase data. Each chart shows the number of rounds raised bucketed by size from $0 to $5M and up to $150M to $200M from 2005 to 2013.

Are VC Mega-Rounds the New Normal?

Each morning’s news seems to bring another fund-raising announcement of ever larger scale. Just a few months ago, Pure Storage raised $150M in the largest ever venture investment in a storage company. These record financings certainly generate significant press interest. But how representative of the fund raising environment are these mega-rounds?

The chart above breaks down fund-raising activity in US tech companies using Crunchbase data. Each chart shows the number of rounds raised bucketed by size from $0 to $5M and up to $150M to $200M from 2005 to 2013.

Each bucket has grown over the past 8 years and most of them steadily. But there are a few outliers. $75M investments spiked in 2013. $150M and $200M investments have been relatively stable over the past four years.

In addition to looking at gross numbers, let’s compare the growth rates from 2009 to 2013 of each of these buckets. The Continue reading “Are VC Mega-Rounds the New Normal?”

Last Minute Advice for YC Applicants, Updated for 2014

In 2009 I wrote a blog post here about advice for startups applying for YC. Little did I know years later I’d become a partner at Y Combinator and have the chance to shape hundreds of new startups since then. 

I thought I’d refresh that article since five years is a long time. Here are my six tips for applicants, updated for 2014.

1) YC is a multiplier for companies, both early and late. 

The most common question I get from teams is wondering whether they are too early for YC, or too late. I think YC can help any company prior to Series A. 

YC teams span the gamut. Some people are just out of college and might only have an early prototype. Others might have already raised a seed round and have real revenue and employees. Some of the YC companies who have done the

Continue reading “Last Minute Advice for YC Applicants, Updated for 2014”

When Carl Icahn Ran a Company: The Story of TWA.


This post is by pmarca from Marc Andreessen

From “TWA – Death Of A Legend” by Elaine X. Grant in St. Louis Magazine, October 2005.
–––
Ask any ex-staffer what went wrong with the [bankrupt] airline, and you’ll get one answer: Carl Icahn, the corporate raider who took over TWA in 1985 and systematically stripped it of its assets…

In 1985, Icahn launched a sneak attack, buying up more than 20 percent of the airline’s stock…

Icahn, though he already had a fairly dark reputation for buying and breaking up companies, told TWA what it wanted to hear: He wanted to make it profitable…

But soon enough, the party was over. “It became more and more apparent that Carl was not interested in growing the airline but in using TWA as a financial vehicle to acquire wealth for himself,” [former TWA pilot Jeff] Darnall says.

In 1988, Icahn took what many consider the first step toward the airline’s demise: He took TWA private. Icahn received $469 million in the deal, and TWA got something a little less attractive: $540 million in debt…

In 1989, Icahn made another revealing move. According to Darnall, employees were anticipating an order for 100 or more airplanes to replenish TWA’s aging fleet. When the order was announced, it was for 12. “That was an indication to me that we had been hoodwinked,” Darnall says.

In 1991, Icahn did something that still causes twinges of pain for those who were there when it happened. He sold TWA’s prized London routes to American Airlines for $445 million.

“Selling the London routes was a killer,” says [former TWA pilot John] Gratz. “They were valuable as hell. The other things he did—trying to implement draconian procedures for everything, having people watch people—it’s all a hill of beans compared to losing those routes.”…

In 1992, TWA filed for bankruptcy, emerging in 1993 with its creditors owning 55 percent of the company. One of those creditors, to the tune of $190 million, was Icahn. He resigned as chairman in 1993, and by 1995 he was growing impatient to be repaid. TWA executives, desperate to bring the tragic Icahn chapter to a close, gave away the farm, the cows and the farmer’s wife. They came up with a deal called the Karabu ticket agreement, an eight-year arrangement that allowed Icahn to buy any ticket that connected through St. Louis… for 55 cents on the dollar and resell them at a discount.

Karabu blocked Icahn from selling the tickets through travel agents, but it didn’t even mention the embryonic Internet, where he immediately set up Lowestfare.com and commenced to bleed TWA dry, one ticket at a time. “He put downward pressure on the amount TWA could sell tickets for because we were essentially competing with ourselves,” Gratz says.

American Airlines later estimated that Karabu cost TWA $100 million a year…

TWA didn’t go out of business in 1995, but it did go into bankruptcy—again…

As American Airlines was preparing to take over TWA, another potential buyer emerged: Carl Icahn. That was all it took. As had happened 16 years earlier, when the fear of Frank Lorenzo drove TWA’s employees into the arms of an arguably deadlier foe, the specter of Icahn, who made a $1.1-billion offer and said he would keep the airline independent while demanding labor concessions and making job cuts, made the American offer seem aglow with promise.

The bankruptcy judge dismissed Icahn’s offer as a joke, but even if it had been seriously considered, he had earned such a bitter reputation with TWA’s rank and file that they would have willingly marched off the American Airlines plank anyway.

[TWA flew its last flight on December 1, 2001.]

Important Additional Information

eBay Inc., its directors and certain of its executive officers are participants in the solicitation of proxies from stockholders in connection with eBay’s 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. eBay has filed a preliminary proxy statement and form of WHITE proxy card with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) in connection with the 2014 Annual Meeting. EBAY STOCKHOLDERS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO READ THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT (INCLUDING ANY AMENDMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTS) AND ACCOMPANYING WHITE PROXY CARD WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE AS THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

Information regarding the names of eBay’s directors and executive officers and their respective interests in eBay by security holdings or otherwise is set forth in eBay’s preliminary proxy statement for the 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, filed with the SEC on March 10, 2014.

This document, in addition to any definitive proxy statement (and amendments or supplements thereto) and other documents filed by eBay with the SEC, are available for no charge at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov and at eBay’s investor relations website at http://investor.ebayinc.com. Copies may also be obtained by contacting eBay Investor Relations by mail at 2065 Hamilton Avenue, San Jose, California 95125 or by telephone at 866-696-3229.

When Carl Icahn Ran a Company: The Story of TWA.

From “TWA – Death Of A Legend” by Elaine X. Grant in St. Louis Magazine, October 2005.
–––
Ask any ex-staffer what went wrong with the [bankrupt] airline, and you’ll get one answer: Carl Icahn, the corporate raider who took over TWA in 1985 and systematically stripped it of its assets…

In 1985, Icahn launched a sneak attack, buying up more than 20 percent of the airline’s stock…

Icahn, though he already had a fairly dark reputation for buying and breaking up companies, told TWA what it wanted to hear: He wanted to make it profitable…

But soon enough, the party was over. “It became more and more apparent that Carl was not interested in growing the airline but in using TWA as a financial vehicle to acquire wealth for himself,” [former TWA pilot Jeff] Darnall says.

In 1988, Icahn took what many consider the first step toward the airline’s demise: He took TWA private. Icahn received $469 million in the deal, and TWA got something a little less attractive: $540 million in debt…

In 1989, Icahn made another revealing move. According to Darnall, employees were anticipating an order for 100 or more airplanes to replenish TWA’s aging fleet. When the order was announced, it was for 12. “That was an indication to me that we had been hoodwinked,” Darnall says.

In 1991, Icahn did something that still causes twinges of pain for those who were there when it happened. He sold TWA’s prized London routes to American Airlines for $445 million.

“Selling the London routes was a killer,” says [former TWA pilot John] Gratz. “They were valuable as hell. The other things he did—trying to implement draconian procedures for everything, having people watch people—it’s all a hill of beans compared to losing those routes.”…

In 1992, TWA filed for bankruptcy, emerging in 1993 with its creditors owning 55 percent of the company. One of those creditors, to the tune of $190 million, was Icahn. He resigned as chairman in 1993, and by 1995 he was growing impatient to be repaid. TWA executives, desperate to bring the tragic Icahn chapter to a close, gave away the farm, the cows and the farmer’s wife. They came up with a deal called the Karabu ticket agreement, an eight-year arrangement that allowed Icahn to buy any ticket that connected through St. Louis… for 55 cents on the dollar and resell them at a discount.

Karabu blocked Icahn from selling the tickets through travel agents, but it didn’t even mention the embryonic Internet, where he immediately set up Lowestfare.com and commenced to bleed TWA dry, one ticket at a time. “He put downward pressure on the amount TWA could sell tickets for

Continue reading “When Carl Icahn Ran a Company: The Story of TWA.”

The Founder Visa (again)

Nearly 5 years ago, Paul Graham first proposed the founder
visa.  There has been a lot of discussion
since, but nothing has happened. 

Maybe he was too ambitious in asking for 10,000 startup
visas per year.  So here is a proposal
for the US government: please let Y Combinator help allocate up to 100 visas to
founders per year.  We’ll continue to
take applications for funding from around the world, and work with whatever
process you’d like—we just need to be able to get the founders visas quickly (None
of the current paths works well enough for this, but a slight reworking of the
O1 visa around criteria and timing could be sufficient.).  If the test works with us, you could expand
it to other investment firms.  We’re happy
to be the beta tester, and we’re confident we’ll prove that it’s a good idea.

100 visas a year is nothing. 
But 50 new startups a year could be a huge deal. Many will fail, of
course, but one could be the next Google, Facebook, Airbnb, or Dropbox. Though
this is almost an immeasurably small number of visas, it could have a
measurably large effect on the number of jobs created in the United States.

Startups are what the US is the best in the world at.  We figure out new businesses faster than
anyone else.  It would be disastrous if that
stopped being the case.

If founders from elsewhere want to pay taxes and create jobs
in the US, we should let them.  Other
countries are already encouraging this. 
If you believe that intelligence and determination are evenly
distributed, less than 5% of the best founders are born in the US.  But it’d be great if many of them started
their companies here.

This is just a start. We are also in need of broad-based
immigration reform, and I believe more immigrants will help our country.  But I also understand that the founder visa
got tangled up with full-scale immigration reform, which may take a long
time.  This is an easy way to have an
immediate effect, and it’s good to move the ball down the field with small,
incremental experiments.

Let us show you what we can do with 100 visas.  This will be measurable, and in 5 years, we
can tell you exactly how many jobs get created.

New Investment: Gravie

Well, we foreshadowed we’d be doing more around the intersection of healthcare and technology.  On the heels of our BioDigital and Recombine announcements, I’m excited to publicly announce our newest investment in Gravie.

Gravie sits at the intersection of some profound changes in healthcare.  Consumers are becoming empowered (or forced) to take control of their healthcare decisions more than ever before.  Employers are struggling with the increasing cost curves in healthcare, and in many cases, as disinterested parties, are phasing out coverage.  Insurers and insurance remain incredibly complex to navigate and difficult for the lay person to understand, often times only figuring things out in their moment of greatest need.  And finally a regulatory backdrop that is forcing major change on the system in the form of the ACA (“Obamacare”). 

Gravie emerged to bring simplicity and transparency to this new world order.  An intelligent, easy to use platform to navigate all the complex decisions in terms people can understand and a single place to consolidate all the information around health in one’s lives.  Gravie also offers advocacy to consumers, acting as a voice for individuals and offering help when questions or problems arise.  In short, Gravie is one place to go for peace of mind around your family’s health. 

The company was founded by three fantastic entrepreneurs who have a long history together and in the space.  Abir Sen, Jill Prevost and Marek Ciolko all worked together at Bloom Health, a company they started to bring Private Exchanges to employers, and successfully acquired by Wellpoint.  Abir has also been part of the founding team at Definity (acquired by United) and Red Brick Health (pioneer of corporate health & wellness plans).

We seeded the company in the summer of 2013, and have witnessed swift execution on both product, launch and adoption.  We are delighted to announce the close of a $10.5MM Series A, in which we participated heavily.  We are quite excited to continue our partnership with the team at Gravie and welcome in Mo Kaushal and the Aberdare team!

Tagged: consumer, healthcare

CPI and the move to mobile re-engagement

tl;dr App installs are no longer enough. Mobile marketers differentiate on re-engagement.

Setting the stage

Mobile has continued to grow bigger, faster than anyone anticipates. On iOS, over 1M apps being downloaded cumulatively over 60B times distributing $13B on an estimated 300M devices. Android is neck and neck and has announced 48B downloads of 900K apps on a now estimated 1B devices.

In Ben Evan’s fantastic Mobile is eating the world presentation pegs these numbers at 2B downloads and $1.1B gross revenue on iOS per month. On iOS this works out to an average of 4-5 app downloads and $2 per active device per month. Android has a similarly impressive top line, 2-3B downloads per month, with aslightly less engaged user base averaging 3-4 downloads per device.

Big business

App distribution is clearly big business for the two main platforms. App install ads also represent $2.4B in 2014 in the US for the broader ecosystem. With products like Google app indexing and AdWords, Twitter Cards, Facebook App Install and Engagement Ads, and Apple Smart Banners marketers can drive install and more importantly re-engagement with their apps.

Flurry reports that “86% of time spent on mobile devices is spent inside applications, with just 14% left for the mobile web.” But as Hunter Walk reflects on, just as content is moving to the ephemeral, apps themselves come and go very quickly. The WSJ reports that “More than 60% of apps are opened 10 times or fewer after being downloaded” citing a 2011 study by Localytics.

Opportunity

After the install, users fall off quickly. With a relatively establish ecosystem in install ads, retention is now how to creative competitive differentiation. This is certainly core to an apps product. An engaging app, with great fresh content, and a good UX will drive better retention.

Fred Wilson set the bar at 30 / 10 / 10. 30% of customers will use the app each month, 10% will use the app daily, and 10% of that daily use 10% will be using the app concurrently. This is a great directional guideline and analytics services like Flurry and Mixpanel can help target vertical specific retention.

As the landscape changes from pure distribution (app install ads) to broader engagement (retargeting, push notifications, deeplinking …), the technology required by marketers is changing. Apple and Google have enabled (Google Intents, Apple Tips and Tricks) deeplinks, facilitating a web of apps and targeted notifications. When the illustrious Mary Meeker talks about the 20 Billion ad opportunity on mobile, I believe this deeper web of apps will close the gap. At HotelTonight, I was fortunate to work with companies like URX and Continue reading “CPI and the move to mobile re-engagement”

How Fast Must a SaaS Startup Grow to Raise a Series A?

Last week, Sean Ellis made an interesting comment in response to this post on public SaaS companies’ growth rates:

I’m guilty of giving the same advice to startup founders without providing a transparent rationale. This post is my explanation of why the 15-20% MRR growth number is a reasonably good target for post-Seed/pre-Series A SaaS startups to aim for.
Let’s create a hypothetical SaaS startup called SaaSCo with a set of founders who aspire to a fund-raising trajectory like the one in table below.

How Fast Must a SaaS Startup Grow to Raise a Series A?

Last week, Sean Ellis made an interesting comment in response to this post on public SaaS companies’ growth rates:

I’m guilty of giving the same advice to startup founders without providing a transparent rationale. This post is my explanation of why the 15-20% MRR growth number is a reasonably good target for post-Seed/pre-Series A SaaS startups to aim for.

Let’s create a hypothetical SaaS startup called SaaSCo with a set of founders who aspire to a fund-raising trajectory like the one in table below. The numbers in this chart are rough estimates of what a fast growing SaaS startup might command in the market, but they aren’t based in any data or surveys.

Round Raised in $M % Sold Implied Valuation in$M
Seed 1 15% 6.7
Series A 5 20% 25
Series B 10 20% 50
Series C 15 15% 100

Presuming the founders of SaaSCo raise their

Continue reading “How Fast Must a SaaS Startup Grow to Raise a Series A?”

24me is smarter than your average personal assistant


This post is by omer from iAngels

There are hundreds of getting-things-done (GTD) and organizer apps in the App Store. The problem is finding the right one for you. Everyone manages their time differently. Some work better with very minimalist actions. Others prefer having all the bells and whistles. What about those who sit right in the middle? 24me Smart Personal Assistant […]

The post 24me is smarter than your average personal assistant appeared first on iAngels.

24me is smarter than your average personal assistant

There are hundreds of getting-things-done (GTD) and organizer apps in the App Store. The problem is finding the right one for you. Everyone manages their time differently. Some work better with very minimalist actions. Others prefer having all the bells and whistles. What about those who sit right in the middle? 24me Smart Personal Assistant […]

The post 24me is smarter than your average personal assistant appeared first on iAngels.

What Jeff Bezos Thinks Is Cool

I just finished reading the book, The Everything Store, which chronicles the life of Jeff Bezos and the rise of Amazon.  Towards the end of the book, the author, Brad Stone, tells a story about Bezos’s quest to understand how Amazon could be admired and not hated as the company raced past $100 billion in annual sales.

As part of this process, Bezos delivered a memo, titled Amazon.love, to his leadership team at a retreat. In essence, this memo outlines how he wants Amazon to conduct itself and be perceived by the world.  Bezos wrote, “Some big companies develop ardent fan bases, are widely loved by their customers, and even perceived as cool. For different reasons, in different ways and to different degrees, companies like Apple, Nike, Disney, Google, Whole Foods, Costco and even UPS strike me as examples of large companies that are well liked by their customers.” 

Bezos then went on to make a list of why some companies are admired and others are loathed: 

  • Rudeness is not cool. 
  • Defeating tiny guys is not cool. 
  • Close-following is not cool. 
  • Young is cool. 
  • Risk taking is cool. 
  • Winning is cool.
  • Polite is cool. 
  • Defeating bigger, unsympathetic guys is cool. 
  • Inventing is cool. 
  • Explorers are cool. 
  • Conquerors are not cool. 
  • Obsessing over competitors is not cool. 
  • Empowering others is cool. 
  • Capturing all the value only for the company is not cool. 
  • Leadership is cool. 
  • Conviction is cool. 
  • Straightforwardness is cool. 
  • Pandering to the crowd is not cool. 
  • Hypocrisy is not cool. 
  • Authenticity is cool. 
  • Thinking big is cool. 
  • The unexpected is cool. 
  • Missionaries are cool. 
  • Mercenaries are not cool. 

Jeff’s “cool” list struck a nerve because I’ve recently been spending a lot of time thinking about branding in the context of both RRE and the companies I’m fortunate enough to work with. Building an enduring and admired company regardless of stage and sector requires not only innovation but also strong values and morals to guide the way.