Be kind. 'Ecosystem'#2

Your weekly guide on tech news, early stage fundraising and venture capital.

Welcome to another ‘Ecosystem’ newsletter! Thank you for being part of this journey from the start! For access to all monthly events, archive and expert-led workshops become an annual subscriber.

Writing reveals what thinking conceals. How long does it take to create a piece of content? The short answer is a while (between one and six hours, according to research!). And once online, it is there to stay. This is a reference inspired by certain Twitter conversations over the past days. A call for us all to be kind(er) to each other 🙏.

“The simplest test of good ethics is how would you feel about any act if an intelligent but unfriendly reporter were to put it in tomorrow’s paper for everyone to see. If it passes that test it’s ok—if you have to think about it, it probably isn’t.”

-Warren Buffett

When is the next event?

Marvin Liao is joining me tomorrow at 5pm BST for the pilot 'Ecosystem Giants' Talks session. This series will highlight the ecosystem members who have redefined the investment and startup landscape. You’ll be able to get practical, actionable advice from one of Silicon Valley’s most experienced early stage investors, his insights and commentary on the market. One of Europe's oldest and largest early-stage VC funds btov partners will also join the conversation. RSVP here.

Innovation Ecosystem Updates

Whether you are an investor, a founder, an operator, a corporate or a friend. My top 5 news stories this week which you may find of interest too.

Who will win the food delivery wars? Uber is to acquire Postmates in a $2.65 bn all-stock deal. *The news comes after last month Just Eat Takeaway bought US rival Grubhub for $7.3bn*Read more on the latest consolidation in the food delivery space via Techcrunch

A high-profile departure. Manu Gupta, founding partner at leading European venture capital firm Lakestar, is stepping down. He was instrumental in setting up the firm in 2013 (which earlier this year had one of the largest raises in European venture at $735m!), backing unicorn companies like Opendoor, Glovo, SoFi. Sifted has the details

And a change in the team of Europe’s largest VC firm Atomico. Sophia Bendz, who launched Atomico’s first 12-month angel programme, is joining Berlin-based Cherry Ventures as partner in September. The reasons behind her move via Techcrunch

Digital insurance company Lemonade logged the best U.S. IPO debut of 2020 with more than 140% gain. Find out more about Softbank’s latest unicorn IPO via Bloomberg.

A ‘Codeacademy’ for VCs? A new VC training program, developed by Partech analyst Jacob Claerhout, aims to be the scalable solution to the industry’s diversity problem. How is Merit offering a more meritocratic way to break into venture capital?


The 90s may have been about “thinking through your build”, but the 2020s are about “thinking through marketing and distribution”. Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and general partner at Hustle Fund on why marketing is eating the world.

What strategies did some of the world’s leading gaming companies use, and what can be learned from them in the SaaS world? Henrik Grim, investment manager at Northzone synthesizes the principles of product-led growth.

Fundraising is a full-time job. What lessons did Samantha Wong, partner at Blackbird Ventures learn from reviewing ~1000+ pitch decks? A must read for founders.

Should you take a convertible loan note? Karen McCormick, chief investment officer at Beringea on when CLNs may ‘backfire’.

What missteps do founders make in their strategic planning because of Covid-19 ? Chris Smith, managing partner at Playfair Capital advises what to avoid in his latest Forbes article.


Can the right marketing strategy help you reach unicorn status? A breakdown on how Canva’s backlink empire and content helped the brand grow to a $6 billion valuation, generate 20 million monthly active users, and gain customers across 190 countries.

The unpaid labor of female founders is not news. What can we as a society do about it? Sharmadean Reid MBE, founder at Beautystack explains.

*For female founders - VC Office Hours & Virtual Panel For Women by Women on Tuesday, 14 July. An opportunity to hear from leading female VCs from Speedinvest, La Famiglia, Creandum and Ananda Impact Ventures and receive advice on your growth/fundraising journey. Apply for a chance to meet one of the participating female investors in a 1:1 session by 9 July here and RSVP for the event here.

Growth models based on the type of company you are. Casey Winters, chief product officer at Eventbrite on 2×2 tactics.

Twitter Highlight

Chris Herd, Founder and CEO, Firstbase

Podcast Highlight

An insightful conversation on the Spanish startup ecosystem via Kaiku Conversations featuring Mario Brassesco, Investment Manager at Encomenda Smart Capital.

*Kaiku helps startups to source early stage funding, become investment ready and find the right partner network to scale.*

Startup Go-to Resources

A Guide To Startups :An archive of the best articles from the original blog of Marc Andreessen 

Y Combinator's Essential Startup Advice : Launch now, do things that don't scale and more. Authors inc Paul Graham, Michael Seibel, Jessica Livingston.

Fundraising in a Pandemic World : Words of wisdom by Semil Shah, founder of Haystack Ventures and Venture Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. 

A Decade of Learnings from Y Combinator 

Cap Tables

The best of A16Z's podcast featuring Marc Andressen

*I very much recommend the episode on talent, tech trends, culture.

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