What We’ve Been Reading

Designing startup metrics to drive successful behavior

Great companies are almost always run by great management teams. And great management teams know that the only way to improve a process is to start by measuring it. Good metrics should also be actionable, and drive successful behavior. In this post David Skok, at for Entrepreneurs, hope to help show how to figure out which metrics matter the most, and how to design them in such a way as to drive behavior that will lead to the results that you want.

Why startups prefer raising seed capital from angel investors rather than from seed funds

Seed funding, typically the earliest investment in a startup, is no longer the territory of angel investors and dedicated seed funds. Stealthily, big-ticket venture capital funds that normally make large bets in startups are writing smaller cheques to younger companies as well, marking a tectonic shift in investment dynamics. Read why Shonali Advani and Evelyn Fok, ETRetail.com, believe startups are looking more and more at angel investors.

Prioritize Product Development by the Four Stages of Use

When prioritizing feature development, Ben Yoskovitz, Instigator Blog, likes to think of a product in four pieces: Ongoing Engagement, Onboarding, First User Experience and Marketing/Growth.

These are actually the steps a user goes through during their lifecycle with your product (listed in reverse). Think of your product less in terms of features and more in terms of the experience you’re trying to provide from start to finish.

21 Characteristics of an Entrepreneur (And How to Master Them)

As an entrepreneur, you will need to master a number of skills to achieve success.

From the ability to notice new business opportunities; to being happy when taking risks; from being a natural promoter to being particularly adept at cultivating networks than others.

In fact, the range of skills that successful entrepreneurs demonstrate has led to some debate about whether or not entrepreneurs are born or made. Read what the blog at EpicLaunch have to say about the born vs. made debate.

Products are Lines, not Dots

Jevon MacDonald, Startupnorth.ca, sees a lot of founders and startups struggling with explaining what they are trying to accomplish. Many are just focused on how they are going to do the next thing. The next release, the next pitch, the next campaign.

Releasing a product is not an accomplishment in and of itself. Launching isn’t either. Getting a feedback and signs of traction never quite feels like enough.

Doing Deals With A Non-U.S. Investor Or Buyer

Guest Post by Nancy Yamaguchi, Partner, Withers LLP

Every company, big and small, must operate globally these days because there are business opportunities and investors all over the world. In the previous years, venture capital investment seemed most active in the U.S., and the venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley were dominant players in providing early stage funding to successful companies such as Google and Cisco. As for an exit strategy, the typical path for almost every startup in the U.S. was an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq or a sale to a large public company in the U.S. Today, we are seeing a lot of activity in Asia in terms of venture capital investment and acquisition of startups, and there are more and more venture capital investors in Asia, especially in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, as well as private investors in Europe, especially in the U.K., Norway, Finland and Denmark. Granted, these locations where we are encountering investors and buyers may be as a result of my firm’s presence or client base there, but nevertheless, the fact is that there is a new trend. This trend is that many of the U.S. technology startups and entrepreneurs are closing more deals with investors, buyers, customers and partners outside of the U.S. Any startup company in the U.S. currently seeking financing or looking to be acquired should not preclude themselves from financing sources outside of the U.S. or being acquired by a non-U.S. buyer, and as long as they are prepared to think “outside of the box” and adapt to other business cultures and legal systems, they would be well-advised to think globally and act globally.

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Better SAFE Than Sorry? A New Way to Finance Start-ups

Guest Post by David F. Broderick, Benjamin M. Hron, David J. Sorin, and Jared M. Sorin – McCarter & English, LLP

McCarter attorneys are providing this information to initiate debate on the pros and cons of SAFE transactions.

The game for fledgling companies and their investors is early-round, seed-stage financings, and there’s a new player in town. Already embraced by West Coast venture capitalists and start-ups, SAFEs – Simple Agreements for Future Equity– appear to be headed east and poised to move alongside, and possibly supplant, convertible note financings.

SAFEs allow investors to finance companies today with the promise of equity participation at some time in the future. Unlike convertible notes, SAFEs are standardized, one-document securities, not debt instruments.

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Friday Feature Company: Beepi, Inc.

Early Stage Tear Down

View the Early Stage Deal Term Report

After posting our Early Stage Deal Term Report we decided to dive deeper into one of the companies that caught our attention. Beepi is the first and only 100% online peer-to-peer marketplace to buy or sell a car. According to their website they “…take up to 9% of all transactions. To put that number in perspective: dealers mark cars up to 54%. [They] are able to offer low prices because [they] connect buyers and sellers directly and don’t have overhead like salespeople or physical lots…”. Beepi has raised north of $57M based on regulatory filings and we valued them at $166 M post-money after their Series B round.  You can see the investment profile below.

beepi_logo_transp_2Investment Data

View the Entire Company Report for Beepi, Inc.