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He Sold His First Business To Google And Just Raised $120 Million For His Next Startup

Ray Reddy

Ray Reddy has raised millions of dollars in startup funds, sold a company to Google and is taking on the local business gauntlet in an innovative new way. Yet, he chose to exit Google and Silicon Valley to launch his latest venture.

In his exclusive interview on the DealMakers Podcast, Ray Reddy shared the pros and cons of the valley and his fundraising strategies.

The Art of Business

Always curious, Ray wondered if business was like math and science.  He attended the University of Waterloo to study computer science, then a Masters of Business and Entrepreneurship and Technology.

He says he learned some good foundational principles, how to approach complicated problems, and how to learn quickly. Yet, when entering the business world he found that very little of what he learned had any practical knowledge of applicability. He says “it’s much more about common sense and experience than it is about definitive approaches and how to solve some of these problems.”

After school he went straight into corporate strategy at BlackBerry, doing M&A and venture investments. Yet, he has always not only had a lifelong craving for learning, but a passion for building something and building something that he found had a purpose.

What Google Gets about M&A

The mobile phone was starting to consume other portable electronics. It quickly began to absorb portable navigation, portable GPS, handheld units, and portable media players. Yet, no one seemed to be addressing it. Ray Reddy decided to go solve it himself and built a team of people to go after it.

That startup became PushLife.

Prior to the iPhone, they focused on building an experience that made it very easy for people to move content back and forth between their phone and their computers, specifically music. It took normal phones, and it gave them an iPod-like experience on Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia. PushLife ended up licensing software to major carriers.

It was so successful it was acquired by Google. After the acquisition, he was at Google for four years. First in the Canadian Google office in Waterloo. Then out in Mountain View at Google‘s headquarters.

He ended up running the mobile commerce team for one of their products. Then towards the end, Ray was actually part of the launch team for Google Shopping Express, which was their same-day delivery effort in retail.

The difference with companies like Google, according to Ray, is that they do hundreds of acquisitions a year. They really turn it into a mass production factory. It’s very organized. There are no games. They are very straight-up. From Ray‘s perspective, it doesn’t feel like anyone is trying to overly optimize a negotiation. It makes a lot of sense because the transaction is the beginning of the relationship.

Ray‘s opinion is that Google‘s M&A process is designed in a way to get a group of people that are energized and that deliver a lot of value over the upcoming years. Contrast that with some other acquisition approaches and the result is quite different.

Eventually, Ray found a big new problem to solve. He ultimately concluded that structurally, a big company wasn’t set up to solve this problem, even with all the resources a company like Google has.

Toronto vs. The Valley

Ray moved his founding team to Toronto. Not that the Valley isn’t a really interesting place. He says “On one hand, it is the capital of technology worldwide, but I think there’s also some really weird dynamics there.” The biggest one being that you’ve got a very high concentration of very wealthy people, and they’re all early adopters.

He points to the collapse of the entire on-demand space, everything from on-demand valets to cleaning services several years ago, and a massive false-positive from the Valley.

Because when you have places like Palo Alto where average household incomes are north of $2 million, you can fool yourself into thinking that there are enough people who will pay a big premium for convenience.

As Ray states, “the types of investors living in the Valley are not at all sensitive to paying a $10 delivery fee for having a $10 item brought to them.“ That doesn’t seem weird to them. When you look across average neighborhoods and cities in North America, that’s not necessarily true. You lose sight of that in the Valley. You lose sight of the average person.

Ray says “So, if you’re trying to build a mass market consumer product, you just have to be very careful of false-positives that can come from something working in the Valley“

Then the team went and looked at the reality of building talent there, and hiring, and cost, and a lot of those other things. They decided to move to Toronto instead.

Fundraising Strategy

Ray’s latest startup is Ritual which is a social ordering app that taps into networks of co-workers and colleagues for fast and easy pick-up and pay at a wide variety of local restaurants and coffee shops.

He has already raised $120 million in capital. Greylock led the Series A out of the Valley. Insight did the Series B out of New York. Georgian Partners led the C round out of Toronto.

Rather than waiting until funds are imminently needed to close a round, he says “I think about it differently which is you should always be talking to investors. Always having an ongoing conversation with investors.”

He’s always talking to the next stage of investors and trying to build that relationship. Fundraising comes down to trust, and do they trust your judgment? Do they trust that you can do what you say you’re going to do?

For Ritual, it’s never been about the investor that gives the highest valuation. It has been about who do you want to work with and who do you want to build this company with and spend time with.

He’s had a relationship with each one of those investors for about 9 to 12 months before the round. When it came time for fundraising, it was a no-brainer each time.

Today Ritual has a team of about 300 people globally.

Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

  • The process of selling your company to Google
  • Benefits of launching in cities outside of Silicon Valley
  • Ways to build relationships with investors
  • Success factors behind marketplaces
  • Retention as the critical factor for ultimate success in business

Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and author of best-seller The Art of Startup Fundraising, a book that offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.

I am a serial entrepreneur and the author of the The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley

Source: He Sold His First Business To Google And Just Raised $120 Million For His Next Startup

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Who Got Rich This Week: Zuckerberg, Bezos And Three Other Billionaires Gain $13 Billion Combined

Mark Zuckerberg has had plenty of difficult days in the past year, but this past week was a good one for him. The Facebook CEO’s net worth jumped $5.5 billion in the week through Thursday April 25, mostly due to investor glee about the $2.4 billion in first quarter profit that the social media firm reported on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old is worth $71.3 billion, $20 billion more than at the beginning of 2019. He is now the 5th richest person in the world, up from No. 8 in March when Forbes published the annual world’s billionaires list. The positive quarterly earnings report overshadowed news that Facebook is setting aside as much as $5 billion to pay a fine to the Federal Trade Commission over privacy issues.

Zuckerberg’s gain was by far the biggest of the week, but he is in good company. The fortunes of Zuckerberg and four other tech billionaires, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, rose by a collective $13 billion in seven days.

A day after Facebook released its first-quarter earnings report, Amazon announced a quarterly profit of $3.6 billion, an all-time record for the e-commerce giant. Amazon’s share price rose 2.2% in the week through Thursday, causing Bezos’ net worth to surge by $3.2 billion. The 55-year-old CEO, who owns a 16% stake in Amazon, is now worth $157.8 billion.

Bezos announced earlier this month that he will transfer approximately 4% of the company’s stock to his wife, MacKenzie, as part of their divorce settlement, which is expected to be completed around early July. Jeff Bezos would still be the world’s richest person while MacKenzie will become the third-richest woman.

WE Day California

Steve Ballmer retired from Microsoft in 2014, but he’s still its largest individual shareholder.

2016 Getty Images

The net worth of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s former CEO, rose $1.7 billion in the week through Thursday as the software giant’s share price increased by 4.7%. Microsoft smashed earnings estimates with a quarterly revenue of $30.6 billion, boosted by its commercial cloud business, which has grown 41% year-over-year. Ballmer, Microsoft’s largest individual shareholder, is now worth $48.3 billion. Cofounder and former CEO Bill Gates only owns just over 1% of shares, having sold or given away most of his stake in Microsoft, but the stock uptick did bump his net worth by $600 million.

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, is now worth $40 billion after gaining $1.4 billion in a week due to a 6.6% stock uptick. Last December, the computer maker returned to the public market six years after Dell took the company private. Dell Technologies’ market capitalization was $46.7 billion as of end of day Thursday, up from its $34 billion listing. Dell’s net worth has nearly doubled over the past 12 months.

Larry Page, the cofounder of Google and CEO of its parent company Alphabet, got $1.1 billion richer, with an estimated fortune of $57.6 billion. Shares of Alphabet, which will report its first-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Monday, have increased 2.2% since last Thursday. It has been a busy week for Alphabet’s “Other Bets.” Wing, which became an independent Alphabet business last summer, recently got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to deliver goods by drone. Wing plans to start drone deliveries in Blacksburg, Virginia, later this year. Loon, which uses high-altitude balloons to provide internet access to remote areas, raised $125 million from a SoftBank subsidiary on Thursday.

Like what you see? Follow me on Twitter. You can also drop me a line at hcuccinello@forbes.com or send a secure tip at forbes.com/tips.

I am a wealth reporter at Forbes. Prior to joining the wealth team, I oversaw the Forbes Media and Entertainment section for nearly three years as Assistant Editor.

Source: Who Got Rich This Week: Zuckerberg, Bezos And Three Other Billionaires Gain $13 Billion Combined

Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019: Meet The Region’s Brightest Young Entrepreneurs And Innovators

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Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 list honorees (from left to right): Rashmi Kwatra, founder of Sixteenth Street Capital; Richard Yim, cofounder of Demine Robotics; Manuri Gunawardena, founder of HealthMatch; Kenny Wong, COO of igloohome; Hussain Elius, cofounder of Pathao.

For the fourth year in a row, our team at Forbes Asia has been scouting the Asia-Pacific region in search for 300 outstanding individuals to highlight in the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list.

Across 10 industries, young entrepreneurs and rising stars have been selected from 23 countries and territories to make up this year’s list. Honorees from as far as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Laos have landed spots on the list for the first time – making the 2019 list even more inclusive and diverse.

If you think millennials and Gen-Z are just building businesses for the short-term gain, think again. This year, it was particularly interesting to note that many of these innovators are not just driving change in the region – but working towards cementing its positive effect in the long run, especially in developing and emerging markets.

From using technology to better their sectors, to helping SMEs thrive through sustainable options when it comes to food and energy – some have been working on innovative solutions to solve problems while building successful businesses at the same time.

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Take 25-year-old Manuri Gunawardena, founder and CEO of HealthMatch for instance. As a medical student at the University of New South, Gunawardena experienced firsthand the difficulty of finding patients to participate in trials for potentially lifesaving treatments. She also noticed there was no convenient way for patients to search for alternative treatments for their conditions. It was then, in early 2017, that she decided to play matchmaker and her startup HealthMatch was born.

Launched in Australia earlier this year, the Sydney-based startup applies machine learning to clinical data to help researchers and pharmaceutical companies find patients suitable for their studies—and vice versa. “We are automating access to clinical trials globally and dramatically improving the future of healthcare by lowering barriers to research and development,” says Gunawardena.

Another 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 list honoree employing technology to solve a problem and potentially save lives is Richard Yim, cofounder of Demine Robotics from Cambodia.

The 25-year-old social entrepreneur started Demine Robotics with the hope that his creation – Jevit, the world’s first remote-controlled robot can lift a landmine out of the ground without detonating it — will help others avoid the fate of his aunt, who died of a landmine explosion over a decade ago when he was growing up in Cambodia.

While the company focuses on Cambodia’s own underground bomb challenge where more than 64,000 casualties have been recorded since 1979, Yim hopes to eventually deploy Jevit to other conflict areas, such as Afghanistan, Colombia and Iraq.

“I truly believe in building a business that will change the world for the better,” he tells Forbes Asia.

Working Towards Sustainability

Other stars on the list have been concerned with issues such as climate change and actively tackling that by introducing alternative ideas and solutions to reduce harmful impact on our planet.

28-year-old chef Anahita Dhondy who runs New Delhi-based Parsi restaurant SodaBottleOpenerWala, promotes the various types of Indian millets, which are nutritious and inexpensive homegrown grains, in dishes in the restaurant and in recipes posted on social media.

Clean energy entrepreneurs also made this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list. Mongolia’s Orchlon Enkhtsetseg, CEO of Clean Energy Asia, an energy startup, raised $128 million to build its first 50MW wind farm in the country’s Gobi desert while Yashraj Khaitan, founder of solar power startup Gram Power, uses smart grid technology to address the widespread energy shortages in India.

Methodology and judging process

Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list undergoes a rigorous process to pull together. Starting with over 2000 online nominations, our team researchers, fact-checks and selects an initial shortlist of 500 semi-finalists who then get vetted by a lineup of A-list judges and industry experts. The final 300 get selected afterwards taking into consideration criteria such as demonstration of leadership, impact, potential of success and the embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit, synonymous with Forbes. Other factors like innovation, disruption – and size and growth of their ventures in some categories – play a role in making the final decision.

This year’s judges includes accomplished and acclaimed entrepreneurs and business leaders such as Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten; JP Gan, Managing Partner at Qiming Venture Partners; Noni Purnomo, President Director of Blue Bird Group Holding; Kaifu Lee, CEO of Sinovation Ventures; Kishore Lulla, Philanthropist and Chairman of Eros International; Changpeng (CZ) Zhao, CEO of Binance; Falguni Nayar, Founder of Nykaa.com ; Patrick Grove, Cofounder and Group CEO of Catcha Group and 30 Under 30 Asia list alumnus, tennis superstar Kei Nishikori.

The birthday cutoff to make the 2019 list was December 31, 1988.

Credits:

List and Project Editor Rana Wehbe

Reporting  and research: Pamela Ambler, Ambika Behal, Elaine Ramirez, Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin, James C. Simms II, Yue Wang, Ian Christopher Wong, David Yin

Editorial interns: Lan Yunsi, Tracy Qu, Jisu Song

Photography: Thierry Coulon (Liu Liyuan & Liao Wenlong), K M Asad (Hussain Elius), Abishek Bali (Anahita Dhondy), Hu Ke (Neo Nie), Jing Wei (Rashmi Kwatra, Manuri Gunawardena, Kenny Wang), Antoine Raab (Richard Yim), Winston Gomez (Steven Wongsoredjo), Franco Origlia/Getty Images (Naomi Osaka)

Senior Photo Editor: Merrilee Barton

Graphics: Luke Kelly

Design: Joy Hwang

Project Manager: Justin Conklin

Associate Product Owner: Grant Tunkel

Data Management: Dmitri Slavinsky

Manager, Software Engineering: Chuck Rea

Software Engineer: Ken Barney

Junior Engineer: Christopher De Leon

I joined Forbes as a senior editor in October 2015 to kickstart the Under 30 franchise in Asia.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ranawehbe/2019/04/01/forbes-30-under-30-asia-2019-meet-the-regions-brightest-young-entrepreneurs-and-innovators/#5298784e5923

Entrepreneurs: Remember That Who You Spend Time With Is Who You Become – Chris Myers

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This past weekend, I had the incredible pleasure of watching my best friend, Dr. Andrew Wolf, graduate from medical school. This was a tremendous accomplishment, made even more impressive by the fact that he managed to pick up four additional degrees in the process.

Andrew and his twin brother Eric have been my constant companions for the better part of twenty years. We grew up together, facing the same challenges and navigating many of the same opportunities. Throughout all of it, he was a constant positive influence and pushed me to be my very best.

While watching him graduate, I realized just how big of an impact he has had on my life and just how vital it is to surround yourself with people who both challenge and elevate you.

This, of course, is particularly important for entrepreneurs. The old maxim that “Whom you spend time with is whom you become” holds true in business just as it does in life. We often distinguish our business and personal lives, convincing ourselves that it is okay to be one way at the office and another at home.

The truth is that there is no such separation, and to think otherwise is pure folly.  Personal consistency is all we have, and therefore must surround ourselves with people we trust, respect, and admire in every aspect of our lives. Doing so will not only make you a better person but a better leader.

Find a tribe that raises you up

Life can be lonely for entrepreneurs or leaders of organizations, as there aren’t many direct peers they can lean on for support. Interactions with other CEOs tend to become ego contests, where everyone is desperate to prove their success and brilliance.

The result is not only off-putting, but it also poses an active threat to your soul as a leader. Early on in my role as the CEO of BodeTree, I went out of my way to connect with other startup CEOs in an attempt to develop a network that I could lean on when times got tough. Unfortunately, I failed to realize at the time that startup founders can be some of the most insecure and miserable people you’ll ever find.

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The tribe I found myself part of envied each other’s successes and continuously sought validation while tearing down those around them. I’m ashamed to admit it, but after a while I found myself adopting the same behaviors. I was becoming a person I did not want to be.It was only after coming to this realization that I began to distance myself from the group and instead found mentors and friends from different walks of life.
While they rarely had to deal with the exact issues I faced, they were still able to offer insight and value, and I was able to do the same for them. Most importantly, these were people whom I trusted, respected, and admired. My interactions with them made me better, not worse.I should have realized this earlier because of the friends I grew up with and the positive impact they had on my life, but I fell victim to the fallacy that there was a separation between my personal and public experiences. Fortunately, I was able to correct the situation before it got out of hand.

Remember that attitudes are contagious

We often forget that attitudes are contagious, particularly when it comes to business. If a leader surrounds themselves with bad influences, they run the risk of picking up bad behaviors. As leaders, the implications of this extend beyond just the personal; they spread throughout your entire organization.

I’ve been a CEO on paper for about eight years, but it has only been in the last three or so that I feel I’ve earned that title. Before that, I was a CEO in name only, flying by the seat of my pants and stumbling from one crisis to the next.

Early on, one of my most damaging mistakes was thinking that my team didn’t  pick up on my moods or pay attention to my attitude. I falsely believed that my emotions started and ended with me, when in reality they set the tone for the entire team.

When I was anxious, the team was concerned. When I was mad, frustrated, or aggressive, those sentiments flooded into the team as well, coloring their interactions with each other. It took me a few years, but I eventually realized that I had a higher responsibility as a leader.

I could no longer indulge in my mood swings or even share my feelings in the same way that someone else could. I had to modulate my responses and set the right tone for my organization at all times.

As usual, this was easier said than done. Despite what I’d like to believe, I’m no superman. I fall victim to the same temptations and challenges like anyone else. To master my emotions and set a positive tone for my company, I had to have a group of people around me who strengthened me and provided both insight and accountability when I faltered.

Seek out people you want to emulate, be of value, and learn from them

In the end, I realized that I had the answers I was seeking all along. Just as my tribe of friends helped me to survive and thrive adolescence and early adulthood, I needed to have a tribe of mentors and peers who could do the same in my career.

Finding these people can be difficult. There is no secret formula for success, despite what anyone tells you. Instead, all you can do is seek out people you want to be like, offer them value, and do your best to learn from them. Building these relationships isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t fast, but it is worth the effort.

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