Food For Founders #41

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Founder Education 

This section is meant to help you grow as a leader, manager, or entrepreneur.

How other startups use illustrations 

We’ve even jumped on this trend. Most people don’t realize how complicated it can be to provide high-quality, brand-centric photos for your company’s website. Building an illustration is much faster and much cheaper.

The clever startup will hire an illustration to create custom designs for their customers during the sales cycle. That’s something that would be wildly unique and with a tool like LandingLion/MakeSwift (one we swear by) you can deploy the new landing pages at lightening speed. 

So if you are thinking of a website redesign, read this article and see why the biggest billion dollar brands use illustrations rather than photos to increase their conversion rates. 

Business Strategy 

This section is designed to help you improve your skills as a strategist and tactician.

Effectively Placing qualitative research in your startups

One thing that I see on a regular basis is the struggle founders have with quantitative vs. qualitative data. Even nowadays as everyone is focused on the optimization of everything, you will notice the best companies are still the ones that place qualitative aspects high on the priority list.

More often than not these companies will be more outwardly concerned with brand and yet more internally focused on optimization. They execute ruthlessly, but are still customer-centric. I don’t believe you can be a great company and have one without the other. It’s the startup version of king and yang with its focus on perfect balance.

As Jesse Caesar says, “data without insight is deadweight.”

One thing we want to focus on with startups in our ecosystem is the customer development process. It’s an essential step in making sure you don’t build a product in search of a problem. While yes, you may come up with a unique solutions by chasing another innovation…can I get an “uber of X”…sometimes you need to put boots on the ground to actually gather deeply held beliefs and friction points for your ideal customer profile. 

Mental Snacks

This section was created to introduce ideas that may not related to starting a company, yet is important to your success as a founder.

What to do when your cap table gets messy

Something that I’ve identified as a value add for our ecosystem model to idea-stage founders is a way to bypass friends and family rounds and potential, angel investors. By doing so, we can help them keep a clean cap table in tact and source documents for potential investors to perform due diligence efficiently. 

One thing I always hear from startup legal advisors is how quickly and easily can mess up cap tables. This piece goes in detail about what that means, how you can avoid it, and what to do when your cap table is out of whack. 

Investors can and frequently do leave an investment on the table if the cap table is too “screwed up” to fix. This is because the due diligence process is lengthened to a point where it may not make any more sense for them to pursue the investment opportunity. How you bring on early stage investors in your company could be the difference in getting a dedicated investor to help you unravel your predicament (caveat: if your startup is growing quickly some investors will provide support/staff to help you unravel your cap table).

Around The Startup Ecosystem

This section was built to update you on important events, opinions, or pieces happening in the world of startups.

Startup investing is going mainstream

We have seen so many celebrities and athletes launch their own venture capital funds this year (i.e. Serena Williams & Aaron Rodgers) and I don’t believe that this will slow down. Up until this point, most athletes are roped into some scheme that ends up with them going broke. We’ve all seen that episode of 30 for 30, most athletes lose their money very quickly after retiring from their field. 

When it comes to launching a VC fund, they are allowing themselves to invest in companies that have far more upside than a dilapidated apartment complex or a chain of restaurants. This becomes an opprotunity that can have less “risk” - Kevin Durant investing in Lime and PostMates was an easier choice than most - yet considerably more upside. Take rapper Nas’ portfolio of investments…he’s done REALLY well investing in Away, Parachute, Local ID, Lyft, Dropbox, earnest, General Assembly, Ring, Pocket, and that’s just a few (they’ve had 34 exits with a founding date of 2014!!). 

With that kind of windfall, you can see why many athletes and celebrities believe that their startup portfolio will make more than their earnings on the court/stage/screen.