Make the choice. 'Ecosystem' #4

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 very beginning! For access to all monthly events, archive and expert-led workshops become an annual subscriber.

How successful are you in achieving your goals? In a world that continuously reminds us we can do and be anything we want to be, is this a dream we can live up to?Developing oneself in every way possible may sound nice it is unrealistic and counterproductive. So why do we spread ourselves too thin, keeping opportunities of little interest alive? At the core is the fear of averting a loss. ***

As a founder, it is essential to be aware of the opportunity cost of your time(the cost of making one decision over another). There is a direct correlation between efficient time management and success. Is what you are doing the best use of your time?

“Knowing whose advice to take and on what topic is the single-most important decision an entrepreneur can make.” - Vinod Khosla, Founder, Khosla Ventures

When is the next event?

Hussein Kanji(partner at Hoxton Ventures) is joining me tomorrow, Tuesday 28 July at 5pm BST for the next 'Ecosystem Giants' Talks session. This series highlights the ecosystem members who have redefined the investment and startup landscape.

Hussein will share his advice on raising a VC fund, spotting future unicorn companies (having backed 3 British unicorns!) and the areas he’s looking into now. The final spaces are added here.

The next ‘Ecosystem Giants’ Talks will be on Tuesday, August 11 at 2pm BST. More details to follow, subscribe here to be the first to find out.

Innovation Ecosystem Updates

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

The former VP of Marketing of $3 billion Carta is suing the company over gender discrimination. More on the story as it broke out via Business Insider. Read Emily Kramer’s reflections on the culture at Carta, her experience as a lone woman executive and her motivations behind the lawsuit against her former employer.

The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are to testify in a historic antitrust hearing before Congress this week. The investigation into the dominance of digital platforms and alleged business practices to maintain market monopoly has been running since June 2019. What is at stake for each company and how to watch the hearing live via Business Insider.

Revolut secured $80 million in new funding, an extension of its Series D round previously announced in February 2020. More on the new features in development and the company’s aspirations to become a super app for all things related to money via Techcrunch

Will Peter Thiel’s Palantir be the biggest tech IPO of the year(that is yet to make a profit!)? More on its software, data collection/transparency and the controversy around the company via Vox.

*An Airbnb 2020 IPO is now not ruled out. CEO Brian Chesky confirmed the company had resumed plans to go public due to stronger-than-expected business in recent weeks as reported via Yahoo.

Will podcasts be the most desirable acquisition targets for big media brands over the next decade? Just four months after the purchase of an app that turns longform journalism into audio, The New York Times announced it is buying the production studio behind ‘Serial’ for $25M via Techcrunch.


Are you a technical founder trying to close your first enterprise sale? Amanda Robson (Principal, Cowboy Ventures) and Timothy Chen(Managing Partner, Essence Venture Capital) interviewed some of the best DevOps founders to find out how they got their first paying “Enterprise Dragon” (Fortune 500) customer.

Do we want what others want? Can hype translate into traction? The exclusivity surrounding consumer launch strategies and the startups successfully creating their own version of a velvet rope explored by Gaby Goldberg (Summer Investment Associate, Chapter One) and Jordan Odinsky(Investor and Head of Platform, Ground Up Ventures). Highly recommended!

In a post-covid world, innovation and digital experiences will be even more instrumental to business success. In the tech world, there is a clear bifurcation emerging. Greylock Partner Asheem Chandna assesses Covid-19’s impact on startups -who is winning, who is struggling and what that bodes for the future.

In 2020, there is no second chance to make a first impression. Is the Lean Startup concept not relevant to today’s market? Eze Vidra(Managing Partner, Remagine Ventures) on why the MVP standards have gone up.

What is the future of business meetings? Monica Desai, Investor at Kleiner Perkins on why asynchronous communication and collaboration may prove essential in a remote, distributed world.


Does branding matter in venture capital and startup fundraising? I am sharing my thoughts and exploring the topic further with the help of VC investors Jasel Metha(Forward Partners), Bethany Greer (Bethnal Green Ventures) and Akash Bajwa (Cass Entrepreneurship Fund) in my new (Re)Startup Strategy article for Startups Magazine *Have you recently raised a VC fund? I want to hear from you.

Eight time’s a charm? Xiaoyin Qu, Founder & CEO of Run The World on finding the right startup idea (after 7 failed attempts!), breaking a co-founder relationship that no longer works and raising nearly $15m(Feb-May 2020!)

Are you growing or scaling? Vik Duggal on what may be holding your scale back and reassessing your marketing funnel. A practical exercise to help you dissect your business to understand which customers are successful while also avoiding the unintended consequences that can cause a b2b SaaS startup to fall apart - Highly recommended!

How do you handle a sudden spike in growth? Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar talks about managing the company’s rapidly increased usership in the wake of the coronavirus (an increase of 80% in active users!), female leadership and cultivating a kinder world by building stronger, local communities

Twitter Highlight(s)

Suhail Doshi, Founder, Mighty

Dr. Emily Anhalt, Co-Founder and CCO, Coa

Startup of the week

Amie, a productivity software that combines calendar and to-dos in one place. Designed to “work like you think” and provide a fast experience across all devices. Founded by former N26 product manager Dennis Muellr (at age 23, the youngest founder Creandum has backed!).

Tweet @tryamie and @dennismuellr to let them know they’ve been featured in ‘Ecosystem’!

If you are working on a venture or investing in ‘Future of Work’ tech ventures, I’d love to hear from you!

*Particularly interested in enterprise collaboration/productivity tools; video/audio solutions.*

Tweet me!

Startup Go-to Resources

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.   

The best of a16z's podcast featuring Marc Andreessen

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

B2B Selling in COVID-19 : 16 key questions to help you sell and survive; a guide by the investment team at a16z 

The ultimate guide to Startup Metrics : What to track, when and why - a must read by Speedinvest Pirates(the growth marketing unit of Speedinvest!)

The All Raise Summer 2020 Reading List : A selection of the favorite books by 26 exceptional funders, founders and operators

Thank you for being part of the second ‘Ecosystem’ newsletter!

***On the topic of making rational decisions and hitting your goals, I recommend reading Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (many thanks to Toni Schneider, True Ventures for this great book suggestion).