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Silicon Valley Investors Are Bonkers For European Startups

Index Ventures partner Danny Rimer always planned to move back to London from Silicon Valley. But when Rimer returned to England a year ago after seven years establishing Index’s U.S. foothold with stakes in companies like Dropbox, Etsy and Slack, he had company: investors from U.S. venture capital firms Benchmark, NEA and Sequoia were also appearing at startup dinners, leading deals and even looking to open offices.

“We’ve always been surprised at how our U.S. peers flew over Europe,” says the Canada-born and Switzerland-raised Rimer, 49, who opened Index’s London office in 2002. As a full-time European resident again, he debuts at No. 3 on the 2019 Midas List Europe, thanks to multi-national investments including Discord, Glossier, Farfetch and Squarespace. Rimer says he watched as investors flocked to pour money into India, China, and Latin American countries, instead. “A very successful Welshman talked about Europe being a museum,” says Rimer, alluding to billionaire investor Michael Moritz, the Sequoia partner and Google and Yahoo investor who moved from Wales to Silicon Valley decades ago. “Now his firm is all over the geo looking.”

More money is flowing into European tech than ever, and it’s increasingly coming from venture capital’s elite U.S. firms. European startups are likely to receive a record $34.3 billion in investments this year, according to investment firm Atomico, with 19% of funding rounds including an American firm, double the portion when Atomico started tracking in 2015. Those American investors will account for about $10 billion, or nearly one-third, of the total amount invested.

American interest in European companies isn’t new: Palo Alto, California-founded Accel opened a London office nearly twenty years ago, and other firms followed suit. But many retreated in subsequent economic down cycles, says Philippe Botteri, No. 6 on Midas List Europe. Botteri, a French citizen, started his venture career at Bessemer Venture Partners in San Francisco and joined Accel in London in 2011. The years leading up to the U.S. firms’ return witnessed a global economic crisis, while access to customers, engineering talent and programs like startup accelerator Y Combinator drove a host of European founders, such as Stripe’s Collison brothers, to relocate to the U.S. Considered a splintered market with regional regulations and languages, Europe faced a fresh hurdle with “Brexit,” when the United Kingdom voted in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, a process still ongoing. Its ruling body, the European Union, has made an anchor policy of challenging big tech companies on how they use data.

Blossom Capital founder Ophelia Brown says she was met with incredulity when, as a young investor at Index Ventures between 2012 and 2016, she visited West Coast counterparts and described the opportunity in European tech. “Everyone would push back: Europe was a little travel, a little ecommerce, a little gaming,” she says. “They felt there was nothing of substance.” In 2017, when she set out to raise Blossom’s first fund, many U.S. investors told her the opportunity for new firms seemed greater in the U.S. and China. Just two years later, Brown says she now hears from institutions asking how to get more exposure to Europe’s startup scene.

What’s changed: A mix of high-profile public offerings such as Adyen and Spotify and a maturing ecosystem that’s made it a much easier draw for U.S. firms, facing intense competition at home, to risk millions in Europe. Spotify, the Stockholm-based music streaming service that went public via direct listing in April 2018, and Adyen, the Amsterdam-based payments company that went public two months later, have created nearly $50 billion in combined market value. The IPOs of Criteo in Paris and Farfetch in London have also produced a network of millionaires primed to write “angel investor” personal checks into smaller tech companies. Today there are 99 unicorns, or companies valued at one billion dollars or more, compared to 22 in 2015, according to Atomico’s data.

“The question used to be, can Europe generate a $1 billion outcome, and then you had Spotify and Adyen creating tens of billions of market cap,” says Botteri, who notes that winners are also coming from a broader base of cities in Europe – 12 hubs, not all from London and Tel Aviv. (As on the Midas List Europe, European investors often include Israel’s tech-heavy startup scene.) “Now the question is, can Europe generate a $100 billion company? And my answer is, just give it a few years.”

For startups in far-flung places like Tallinn, Estonia, where Pipedrive was founded in 2010, or Bucharest, where UiPath got its start, the influx of U.S. venture capital counts for more than just money – it means access to former operators who helped scale businesses like Facebook, Google and Slack, introductions to customers in New York or executive hires in San Francisco. And with their stamps of approval comes buzz that can still kickstart a startup’s brand recognition, investors say.

But they also come with a risk: heightened pressure to deliver, board members who may be 5,000 miles away, and potentially overheated valuations that can prove onerous should a founder misstep. Sarah Noeckel, a London-based investor at Dawn Capital and the publisher of women-in-tech newsletter Femstreet, has tracked a number of recent seed-stage deals in which a U.S. investor swooped in with an offer too rich for local alternatives to match, for companies that sometimes haven’t sold anything yet. “I think there’s little validation at this point how it actually plays out for them,” she says.

For the U.S. investors, there’s a clear financial incentive to “swoop in.” On average over the past year, one dollar’s worth of equity in a European startup in a Series A funding round would have cost $1.60 in the U.S. for a comparable share, according to the Atomico report. Investors insist that for the most in-demand companies in Europe, such as London-based travel startup Duffel, which raised $30 million from Index Ventures in October, prices already match Silicon Valley highs.

All the more reason that as U.S. investors hunt in Europe like never before, they’re doing so quietly. Though Lightspeed Venture Partners announced its hiring of a London-based partner, Rytis Vitkauskas, in October, other U.S. firms have been on the ground without advertising it publicly. Leaders from NEA, with $20 billion in assets under management, passed through London in recent weeks on a venture capital tour as the firm plans to invest more heavily in Europe moving forward, sources say. Sequoia partners Matt Miller and Pat Grady, meanwhile, have been spotted around town meeting with potential job candidates. (Sequoia’s never employed a staffer in Europe before.) NEA and Sequoia declined to comment.

“Everyone would push back: Europe was a little travel, a little ecommerce, a little gaming. They felt there was nothing of substance.”

Blossom Capital founder Ophelia Brown

Many more U.S. investors now pass through London; some even stretch the meaning of what it means to visit a city through months-long stays. “I always used to have to travel to the West Coast to see friends that I made from the show,” says Harry Stebbings, who has interviewed hundreds of U.S. venture capitalists on his popular podcast, ‘The Twenty Minute VC.’ “Now, every week I can see three to five VCs in London visiting.” For the past several months, longtime Silicon Valley-based Accel partner Ping Li has lived in London with his family. Asked if he’d moved to the city without any public announcement, Li demurred – “I would argue that I’m spending a lot of time on British Airways,” he says – before insisting he plans to return to California in three to six months. “I don’t think you can actually be a top-tier venture capital firm without being global,” he says. Firms without plans for a permanent presence in London are creating buzz among local investors, too. Kleiner Perkins investors Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman have been active in Europe recently, they confirm. Benchmark, the firm behind Snap and Uber, invested in Amsterdam-founded open-source software maker Elastic, which went public in 2018, and more recently London-based Duffel and design software maker Sketch, based in The Hague. “Europe’s just more in the spotlight now,” partner Chetan Puttagunta says.

Against the backdrop of Brexit, the inbound interest can feel like a surprise. London-based investors, however, appear to be shrugging off concerns and hoping for the best. “In and of itself, it means nothing,” says Index Ventures’ Martin Mignot, a French and British citizen investing in London and No. 7 on the Midas List Europe. “The only real question is around talent, whether it’s going to be more difficult for people to come and work in London, but how difficult that is remains to be seen.” Or as his colleague Rimer quips: “Having spent seven years in the U.S., I don’t exactly think the political climate of the U.S. was necessarily more welcoming.”

When Rimer attended the Slush conference, a tech conference of 25,000 in Helsinki in November, he brought along a guest: Dylan Field, the CEO of buzzy San Francisco-based design software maker Figma. If Field were European, Index would be leading him around Silicon Valley; instead, with 80% of Figma’s business outside of the U.S., Rimer wanted Field to experience the energy of Europe’s tech community first-hand. Explains Rimer: “It’s just a reflection of the reality today.”

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I’m an associate editor at Forbes covering venture capital, cloud and enterprise software out of New York. I edit the Midas List, Midas List Europe, Cloud 100 list and 30 Under 30 for VC. I’m a Fortune Magazine and WNYC alum. My tech focus would’ve perplexed my college self, as I studied medieval history and archaeology at Harvard University. Follow me on Twitter at @alexrkonrad and email me at akonrad@forbes.com. Securely share tips at https://www.forbes.com/tips/

Source: Silicon Valley Investors Are Bonkers For European Startups

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A interview with Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen In this interview, Marc discusses how Silicon Valley works and why it is so hard to replicate. Marc also talks about what he looks for in investments and gives advice to students. 📚 Marc Andreessen’s favourite books are located at the bottom of the description❗ Like if you enjoyed Subscribe for more:http://bit.ly/InvestorsArchive Follow us on twitter:http://bit.ly/TwitterIA Other great Venture Capitalists videos:⬇ Marc Andreessen: Venture Capital Investment Philosophy:http://bit.ly/MAndreessenVid1 Billionaire Chris Sacca on Investing, Venture Capital and Life:http://bit.ly/CSaccaVid1 Billionaire Peter Thiel on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Competition: http://bit.ly/PTheilVid1 Video Segments: 0:00 Introduction 1:58 Something you really screwed up? 3:09 How does Silicon Valley work? 6:33 Why has Silicon Valley never been replicated? 10:24 Where does the value of cryptocurrency come from? 12:46 Is it going to disrupt governments? 14:26 What makes a fundable company? 19:23 What do you see in the future? 22:48 Advice to students? 24:52 How do you get rid of fear? Marc Andreessen’s Favourite Books🔥 Life: The Movie:http://bit.ly/LifeTheMovie Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:http://bit.ly/ConfessionsEconomic And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) Wall Street:http://bit.ly/MoneyKeptRolling Last Call:http://bit.ly/LastCallMA Startup Rising:http://bit.ly/Startuprising Interview Date: 29th March, 2018 Event: Udacity Original Image Source:http://bit.ly/MAndreessenPic1 Investors Archive has videos of all the Investing/Business/Economic/Finance masters. Learn from their wisdom for free in one place. For more check out the channel. Remember to subscribe, share, comment and like! No advertising.

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Former Uber CEO Adapts A Copy From China Idea With His U.S. Startup CloudKitchens

The latest example of the copy from China innovation trend comes from former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and his new startup CloudKitchens, a kitchen sharing concept for restaurants and take-out orders.

This shared kitchen model originated in China, with a Beijing-based startup named Panda Selected. Little doubt that Kalanick saw this idea at work in China. He has China experience and some scars to show from his ventures a few years ago with Uber in China doing battle with Chinese ride-sharing leader Didi and eventually selling to the rival.

These shared food preparation services are part of the sharing economy that has blossomed in China. Sharing has extended from taxi rides to bikes to even shared umbrellas and battery chargers.

The shared kitchen could disrupt the traditional restaurant business. It caters to a young on-the-go population who order food by mobile app and get quick take-out deliveries. No need for large dining areas or kitchens that serve just one restaurant. The shared model lowers the cost of doing business for commercial restaurants and makes it easier to do business around the clock in a hurry and manage operations.

Today In: Innovation

The model has already caught on in China, where new business ideas particularly for mobile gain traction quickly and have no problem in attracting customers. Panda Selected, which was started in 2016 by CEO Li Haipeng, has more than 120 locations in China’s major business hubs.

This shared kitchen concept could gain quick uptake in the U.S. too. On-demand instant delivery for take-out food ordered by mobile app hasn’t yet caught on in the U.S. like it has in China’s congested cities but that doesn’t mean that the model can’t work in the U.S.

Venture capital investors have already decided the business could scale quickly and have funded the shared kitchen business model. CloudKitchens has funding of $400 million from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on top of initial seed capital from Kalanick. Panda Selected has attracted $80 million in funding from DCM Ventures, Genbridge Capital and Tiger Global.

It is interesting to see successful serial entrepreneurs like Kalanick trying their hand at new ideas they’ve seen work in China. No doubt more ideas from China’s advanced digital economy will filter into the U.S. Already, we have digital entertainment app. How long before we see the social commerce model that Pinduoduo has perfected in China get transported over to the U.S.?

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Rebecca A. Fannin is a leading expert on global innovation. As a technology writer, author and media entrepreneur, she began her career as a journalist covering venture capital from Silicon Valley. Following the VC money, she became one of the first American journalists to write about China’s entrepreneurial boom, reporting from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Today, Rebecca pens a weekly column for Forbes, and is a special correspondent for CNBC.com. Rebecca’s journalistic career has taken her to the world’s leading hubs of tech innovation, and her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Inc., and Techonomy. Her next book. Tech Titans of China, is being published this year. (Hachette Book Group, 2019).Rebecca’s first book, Silicon Dragon: How China is Winning the Tech Race (McGraw-Hill 2008), profiled Jack Ma of Alibaba and Robin Li of Baidu, and she has followed these Chinese tech titans ever since. Her second book, Startup Asia (Wiley 2011), explored how India is the next up and comer, which again predicted a leading-edge trend. She also contributed the Asia chapter to a textbook, Innovation in Emerging Markets (Palgrave Macmillan 2016). Inspired by the entrepreneurs she met and interviewed in China, Rebecca became a media entrepreneur herself. In 2010, she formed media and events platform Silicon Dragon Ventures, which publishes a weekly e-newsletter, produces videos and podcasts, and programs and produces events annually in innovation hubs globally. Rebecca also frequently speaks at major business, tech and policy forums, and has provided testimony to a US Congressional panel about China’s Internet. She resides in New York City and San Francisco, and logs major frequent flier miles in her grassroots search to cover the next, new thing.

Source: Former Uber CEO Adapts A Copy From China Idea With His U.S. Startup CloudKitchens

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Business Insider reports that former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is making progress with his food-delivery and “dark kitchen” startup. CloudKitchens is the venture, it’s one of the units of Kalanick’s company City Storage Systems. The CloudKitchens unit builds kitchens for chefs who want to start food-delivery businesses. CloudRetail builds facilities to support online retailers. The company has hired dozens of people including former Uber employees. Employees are being asked to keep mum about it all, not even publicly acknowledging they work there. Kalanick is said to be focused on growing his food delivery fast as he did with Uber. https://www.businessinsider.com/stock… http://www.wochit.com This video was produced by YT Wochit Tech using http://wochit.com

Health Testing Startup UBiome Files For Chapter 7 With Plans To Shut Down

In October 2018, microbiome testing startup uBiome was riding pretty high. Less than a month before, the company had announced a shift to more therapeutic products, raised $83 million in a venture capital round, and added a former Novartis CEO to its board.

Fast forward a year later: the company’s cofounders have resigned, it faces law enforcement scrutiny over its billing practices, it’s currently in bankruptcy proceedings, and it filed a motion Tuesday to move from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would mean liquidating its assets and shutting down.

A lot can happen in 12 months.

The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2012, and its first product was an at-home kit where people could provide fecal samples and send them in for genomics testing. The company then purported to provide a report about its customer’s microbiome—the bacteria present in the intestines that can have a big impact on people’s health.

Today In: Innovation

The company then began offering a test for irritable bowel syndrome and a test for vaginal health. These tests required a doctor’s order. The company’s practices involving doctors who ordered those tests are reportedly under scrutiny by law enforcement, and its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing included notes about millions of dollars owed to insurance companies as refunds. In July, the company’s cofounders and co-CEOs, Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, resigned from the company.

During the company’s Chapter 11 filing, the company had indicated that it would be looking into a sale. However, according to the motion it filed in court today, the company wasn’t able to secure lending that would enable it to continue operations. As a consequence, it has requested the court allow it to cease operations and liquidate its assets in order to pay off its creditors.

The bankruptcy court still needs to approve the motion. If it is accepted and the company moves to Chapter 7, the liquidation of uBiome’s assets will happen under the supervision of a court-appointed trustee.

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Source: Health Testing Startup UBiome Files For Chapter 7 With Plans To Shut Down

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Jessica Richman, Co-founder and CEO of uBiome and Kimmy Scotti, Partner at 8VC, discuss making the move from academia to startup world, applying data to health problems and what’s going on in health tech. — In 2017, Slush brought together 20,000 attendees, including 2,600 startups, 1,600 investors and 600 journalists from over 130 countries. The cold and dark Helsinki welcomed these tech-heads to a week long celebration, including Slush Music, new Slush Y verticals, and hundreds of side-events and activities around the city. Slush 2018 takes place on 4.–5.12.2018 Slush 2017 in pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/slushme… Website: http://www.slush.org Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/slushHQ Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/slushHQ Instagram: http://instagram.com/SlushHQ Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/slush Slush Music: http://music.slush.org Slush Tokyo: http://tokyo.slush.org Slush Shanghai: http://shanghai.slush.org Slush Singapore: http://singapore.slush.org Intro videos by: VAU (http://vau.company) VELI.fx / Veli Creative (http://velicreative.fi) Slush is a non-profit event organized by a community of entrepreneurs, investors, students and festival organizers. Slush has grown from a 300-person event to become the leading event of its kind in the world. The philosophy behind it has remained the same: to help the next generation of great, world-conquering companies forward.

How to Create a Winning Startup Culture

Some time back, in my infographic on 51 Business Mistakes that most Entrepreneurs Make, I had outlined that one of the biggest mistakes is that you do not give any thought as to what you consider would be a great startup culture. And, without good policies or HR to keep things in check, the startup begins to develop a toxic business culture.

You will find this problem in businesses in Japan a lot. The Japanese culture is that people should work harder and if any employee goes home early, or finishes his work faster than the other, they usually get snitched on to their bosses by their co-workers. Since, you are growing a startup, you may want to avoid all these hullabaloo as time is limited and money is precious. Your workforce is your primary foundation and you want to build it strong as everything else you do is going to be supported by your employees.

Therefore, here is what you do to streamline the company’s functions and develop a strong and great company culture:

Step #1. What are the values that you hold dear and want to be reflected by your startup?

Yeah, you are the boss, you are the man of the show. Since you run the startup, you need it to reflect the type of entrepreneur you are and the entrepreneurial qualities you have as best as possible. That way, you can run it better!

So, ask yourself, what quality do you want for your startup to be its brand identity? It can be anything. For example – if you think hustle is the best quality of a startup (although, I disagree), it can be – “being the hardest worker in the room”, or if you want your employees to have a quality personal life, it can be something else.

Now, when you have landed on some values which you hold dear, make sure everybody in your business knows it – the employees, your partners, the directors and even the janitors!

Step #2. Make Sure Employees (Both Present and Future) Reflect those Ideals

If all you look at when hiring employees is whether they have the requisite skills or not, then you could be doing a grave mistake. Studies have proven that employees who are not a cultural fit with your business shall not work their best.

Heck, they can even become toxic in nature and do more harm to your company culture than good. Suppose you have an open-door policy wherein any employee can talk to you directly; however a mid-level executive doesn’t want that and shouts at and harasses his juniors for going to you without passing through him first – what do you think is going to happen?

Your startup culture will be in-operational for just one worker and can hinder performance among all your employees. That’s why mistake #1 in my post on business mistakes showed that you need a good HR even if your business is new. An HR has relevant skills and expertise in hiring the best workers so that can be a breather for you and help your business focus on, where it is truly necessary.

Step #3. Make Sure Everyone’s Voice is Heard

In order to truly know whether every employee is resonating according to your business ideals, you have to make sure that the voice of employees at even the lowest level is heard. That way, you can be sure the startup culture has truly sunk in.

In order to create a culture that actually motivates the employees, you also have to make sure that they understand that their voice matters and that if they have any grievances to tell or advices to offer, it has a good chance to be acted upon.

Also, this step that is to make everybody’s voice heard should not be made only in a vertical direction that is only from down to the top; rather it should be made laterally. Colleagues should know what their teammates think and feel.

That way, it can promote good communication and the workplace is going to remain energized. You need to also support lateral feedback even if means you have to go above and out of what you should be doing.

Step #4. Give Feedback

Now, the above step will be quite redundant without this process in place. Your employees will stop saying what they feel if they believe that what they say will not be acted upon. Therefore, you have to be proactive in giving feedback to employees. Show them that their work counts and learn to motivate them. Hold interactive sessions, talk one-on-one with employees who have addressed their grievances to you and also share your thoughts on any input they have given.

That way, you actually know whether your company culture is striving or whether the employees have just put up a facade to please you. Now, an even more important point – there will always be some employees who go against the company culture or even rebel against them.

There are three ways to handle them which you must note and be careful of:

  1. Firstly, by providing gentle feedback about how you want things to be and remain in your business. This works against employees who unknowingly have strayed from the path and need just a gentle pat to return back on track. For example, if you have a company  culture on wearing formal attire and being extremely disciplined but you see a guy who is trying to break free, because he feels the clothes are very restrictive, you can guide him to a middle path.
  2. Secondly, by actively supporting him in his endeavour. You know, some people are really creative and can’t be bounded. While, it can do a lot of damage to your company culture, if you feel that the guy has got a lot to offer, you can let him be a wild horse. This usually applies to some very creative overachievers. These guys are usually rebels and if they don’t actually harm the way other employees do their work, it is best to keep them and encourage their habits! Seems rather odd, right!?
  3. Lastly, by firing him. Some people just poison the company culture. Toxic employees who are constantly fighting their peers or are late in finishing their work almost always need to be eradicated or else you risk the chance of demotivating your other employees.

While, it looks rather simple, it is the simple things that have the most effectiveness. Executing these principles at your startup can be the separating factor from just a startup and a startup with a workforce who are optimized to win!

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Source: How to Create a Winning Startup Culture

 

It’s Alive! Facebook’s Surprising Video Standout Is A Horror Movie Startup

Like a proud parent, Jack Davis has covered the refrigerator in his Wilshire Boulevard office with artwork. But these aren’t crayon-drawn stick figures of Mom and Dad. They’re the stuff of nightmares—a demonic entity with shark teeth, a cannibal with thorns sprouting from his head, a tree that likes to disembowel its victims.

The gruesome creatures crawled out of the imagination of Davis’ Crypt TV, a digital studio that aspires to become the Marvel of monsters for mobile. Davis, 27, has raised $11 million from investors including Hollywood producer Jason Blum (Us, Ma), media mogul Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Huffington Post cofounder Kenneth Lerer and NBCUniversal. The four-year-old Los Angeles studio, which creates horror videos for social networks, is on track to bring in about $20 million in revenue this year through production deals, running ads for films like Crawl and selling merchandise.

When he started, “no one was doing scary for mobile,” Davis says. That signaled a missed opportunity. “This is a huge genre. It has a solid fan base, and scary movies are very, very big.”

The Golden Age of streaming has birthed Netflix competitors that cater to nearly every genre, from U.K. shows on Britbox to anime on Crunchyroll and, yes, horror on Shudder and Screambox. At the same time, studios like Elisabeth Murdoch’s Vertical Networks have built audiences that are reached primarily through mobile-first social networks such as Snapchat and Instagram, which more than a billion people visit each month.

Davis and Crypt TV cofounder Eli Roth, the film director and producer who developed Netflix’s first horror series, Hemlock Grove, bet that an audience who loved films like Jordan Peele’s Oscar-nominated Get Out would snap up suspense and horror on the small screen, too.

It’s an intuition that’s paying off. Crypt TV said on Friday that it had reached a deal with Facebook to develop five series exclusively for Facebook Watch, its on-demand video service. The deal extends a partnership started in 2018, when Facebook green-lighted a 15-episode series based on Crypt’s short film The Birch.

Facebook has been paying as much as $25 million for these original shows, though the bulk of them cost $3 to $5 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. Forbes estimates the new Crypt TV deal is valued at less than $20 million. Neither party would disclose the terms of the partnership.

Facebook might seem an unlikely place to screen monster movies for Generation Z and younger Millennials, who make up nearly half of Crypt TV’s audience. One Pew Research Center survey last year found that the world’s largest social network is no longer the most popular hangout for teens, a big drop from earlier in the decade. Plus, Facebook Watch has struggled to gain traction. A year after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched Watch to better compete with Google’s YouTube and Snapchat’s Discover, only half of Facebook users had ever heard of it, says The Diffusion Group, a media research consultancy.

Still, momentum is gathering for shows that capitalize on the network’s power to amass communities to talk about shared interests—say, Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk show, Red Table Talk, or Sorry for Your Loss, a drama on grief starring Elizabeth Olsen. Facebook says more than 140 million people each day spend at least a minute viewing Watch videos.

“It’s very hard to say that a platform … (of) two-plus billion people on it doesn’t have young people on it,” says Matthew Henick, Facebook’s head of content planning and strategy. “What Crypt does incredibly well is—because they’re able to tell their stories through many different modes or, in this case, products—they’re able to find those audiences and pull them in.”

Crypt TV taps into a community that likes to be scared. Horror has been reeling in fans on the big screen: The genre brought in a record $1 billion in box office sales in 2017, according to Comscore.

Some fans want to get their goose bumps for free. Thanks to The Birch, which was viewed 26 million times on Facebook, the studio now has 9.75 million followers, or more than triple its YouTube audience. On Davis’ fridge hang mementos from fans. One shared a photo of her tattoo—it’s of the Look-see, a creature with no eyes and flesh that’s been stitched together.

“Young people have so much emotion,” Davis says. A scary story “provides an amazing, permissive structure to take on deep emotional issues.”

A fortuitous encounter at a dinner party hosted by his parents in West Los Angeles led to the creation of Crypt TV. Then a student at Duke University, Davis found himself sitting next to Roth and began reciting dialogue from Roth’s portrayal of the bat-wielding Nazi killer Donny Donowitz in Inglourious Basterds.

The conversation turned to Davis’ career plans. The sociology and political science major said he hoped to launch his own company, capitalizing on the dramatic shift in media viewing habits he’d observed during his four years in college. Roth had a suggestion.

“I said, ‘You know that audience that’s going to see horror movies now’—because obviously now horror has exploded—‘They’re all on their phones,’” Roth recalls. “What is the next generation of characters? Who is creating the new Freddy Krueger? Is there a way to launch a Freddy? A Jason? A Michael Myers? A Chucky? Just on your phone?”

Roth introduced him to Blum, who became Crypt TV’s earliest investor and served as a mentor to the company’s 23-year-old founder.

An early success was #6SecondScare, an October 2014 online competition that encouraged users of Vine, Twitter’s six-second video service, to upload their scariest videos.

Roth lent his name to the contest and coaxed Hollywood celebrities including Quentin Tarantino and High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens to promote it and serve as judges. #6SecondScare attracted 20,000 submissions and ended up featured on ABC’s Good Morning America.

In the summer of 2015, Davis’ team launched Snapchat Murder Mystery, a show that gathered ten social media influencers to a mansion party, then killed off their characters in an Agatha Christie-styled whodunit. A year later came Crypt TV’s breakthrough moment with The Birch. The four-minute video follows a terrified schoolboy who summons an ancient being in the woods to dispense a particularly bloody form of retribution on the boy’s tormentor.

Davis faces his own monster lurking in the dark: Quibi. The mobile video subscription service comes with a Hollywood pedigree, a $1 billion cash horde and some of the best-known filmmakers in horror, Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth) and Sam Raimi (Evil Dead), as well as Blum, producing original content.

Quibi launches in April—though Crypt TV, in classic horror film fashion, has gotten a running start.

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I’m a Los Angeles-based senior editor for Forbes, writing about the companies and people behind the biggest disruption in entertainment since cable TV: streaming video

Source: It’s Alive! Facebook’s Surprising Video Standout Is A Horror Movie Startup

It’s Not About Ideas. Do What Amazon, Netflix, Uber And AirBnb Did, Head For A Blue Ocean

In this July 1, 2014 photo, Dollar Shave Club CEO and co-founder Michael Dubin poses for photos at the company's headquarters in Venice, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

If you want to become an entrepreneur but don’t know where to start, relax. It’s not about ideas, it’s about understanding and researching current industries that have not innovated their products or services and have a large customer market. If you think about what Netflix, Amazon, Uber and AirBnb did, you can clearly see, they created nothing new in terms of products. So, what did they do? They changed the “game” in an industry that was not being innovative and was ripe for disruption. In other words, they headed for a “blue ocean” made famous by management thought leaders W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne in their perennial bestseller, Blue Ocean Strategy.

Blue Ocean Strategy is an approach that challenges everything that you thought you knew about the requirements for entrepreneurial success. Blue Ocean Strategy can be summarized in a nutshell: the best way to beat the competition is to make the competition irrelevant. Imagine that the marketplace is comprised of two sorts of oceans: red oceans and blue oceans.

To discover an elusive blue ocean, Kim and Mauborgne recommend that businesses consider what they call the Four Actions Framework to reconstruct buyer value elements in crafting a new innovation wave. The framework poses four key questions:

  • Raise: What factors should be raised well above the industry’s standard?
  • Reduce: What factors were a result of competing against other industries and can be reduced?
  • Eliminate: Which factors that the industry has long competed on should be eliminated?
  • Create: Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered?

If you think about it, lets review what these market leaders did with Blue Ocean Strategy in mind. Amazon did not build bookstores but built an enterprise infrastructure to have access to one million book titles and competed well with Borders and Barnes & Noble. Netflix did not use stores in their business model to compete with Blockbuster; instead they focused on customer service. Uber did not even try to buy cars and compete with the independent taxi companies, they created a mobile app. AirBnb does not own homes or hotels, instead they redefined the travel experience by uniting existing property owners onto a common easy-to-use platform.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, third from left, takes a photograph as he attends the opening bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange, as his company makes its initial public offering, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, third from left, takes a photograph as he attends the opening bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange, as his company makes its initial public offering, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

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Existing marketplaces with lots of competitors live in crowded, shark-ridden red oceans. Red oceans are characterized by multiple firms offering similar products competing mostly on price. Think Target versus Wal-Mart, Sony versus Samsung.  Meanwhile, blue oceans are characterized by untapped market space, demand creation, and the opportunity for highly profitable growth.

In recent years, Dollar Shave Club took on Gillette by offering subscription-based access to razors at a better cost and service. As a potential entrepreneur, just examine large industries or product lines and see if customers are happy with their current choices. Wherever you find customers are not ecstatic, dig deeper. A few years back, Chobani did the same thing to yogurt by offering Greek yogurt, more protein and less sugar. None of these examples showcase a completely new, never heard of before product. But all these companies either innovated the current product in the marketplace or they offered a simple innovation or twist to the business model for their company. In almost every case, the customer is happier with the new company or product. That means they were dissatisfied before these companies came along.

If you want to get a jumpstart on surfacing an opportunity, pay attention to something new you see (craft beer, organic pet food, cloud storage, etc.) and do some research.  Or go to places where you can observe people: malls, airports, universities and just walk around. See what people are doing and not doing. Don’t look for anything in particular, just observe. Another option is to walk through Target or Wal-Mart and slowly walk up and down the aisles. Look for current products that seem over priced or they don’t exactly make the customer ecstatic. Then research how big that industry category actually is. If it’s billions, keep going. Run a few of your best “opportunities” through the Blue Ocean Strategy framework of raise, reduce, eliminate and create.

The founders of Skullcandy did something similar by walking through Target to spot their earphone opportunity. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to solve a problem in a big marketplace. To spot a problem, go looking. Once you find some problems, use Blue Ocean Strategy to innovate a solution and perhaps you will create a billion dollar company.

You can read more about what Bernhard has to say on his website and follow him here on his Linked In

I am the Director at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, San Diego State University. I oversee all of the center’s undergraduate and graduate experiential programs.

Source: It’s Not About Ideas. Do What Amazon, Netflix, Uber And AirBnb Did, Head For A Blue Ocean.

CoinMarketCap Crypto Assets Now Feature Flipside Letter Grades

Blockchain analytics startup Flipside Crypto is bringing crypto asset letter grades to a slew of online publishers. The Fundamental Crypto Asset Score (FCAS) metric – which evaluates factors such as developer activity and a broad set of transaction data – was recently added to CoinMarketCap, along with publishers such as MarketWatch, TheStreet and Stocktwits. The move comes ahead of the launch of CoinMarketCap’s first Android app, scheduled for April. Carylyne Chan, head of global marketing at CoinMarketCap, told CoinDesk these easy-to-use metrics will give users a more transparent view of how these assets are evolving. According to Chan, the site attracted 125 million repeat visitors in 2018 alone……

Source: CoinMarketCap Crypto Assets Now Feature Flipside Letter Grades

Digital Asset’s Europe Head Is Latest to Leave Enterprise Blockchain Startup

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Alena Vranova, the head of strategy at Casa Inc., a New York-based startup

Alena Vranova, the head of strategy at Casa Inc., a New York-based startup that helps consumers securely store cryptocurrencies, recently shared her views and insights with CryptoGlobe.Vranova, is the founder and former CEO of SatoshiLabs, a company that developed TREZOR… https://www.pivot.one/share/post/5c82ad31595ce76ee505b77f?uid=5bd49f297d5fe7538e6111b6&invite_code=JTOJYV

Zuckerberg’s Big Hopes, a new Huawei sting, VPN truths, a five-year bet on Bitcoin, the Captcha puzzle, and more — The Overspill: when there’s more that I want to say

Afraid so: the machines are now able to beat us at this game too. CC-licensed photo by Chris on Flickr. Ahead of No. 1,000, send in your three favourite links – leave a comment, email or DM me. Popular so far: Why drowning doesn’t look like drowning (May 2018); why I hope we don’t find […]

via Start Up No.996: Zuckerberg’s big hopes, a new Huawei sting, VPN truths, a five-year bet on Bitcoin, the Captcha puzzle, and more — The Overspill: when there’s more that I want to say

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