Ski week means a shorter newsletter than usual, but a couple points of order before we jump into things.
Slack Group for Remote Roles
I often hear about companies that have an open position and will consider a remote candidate (although they haven't made that clear in job postings or elsewhere). I'd like to be able to connect people looking to work at early-stage startups to a position that offers an equity stake in the company. From what I've seen of remote work postings, very few offer a stake in the company. Interested? You can apply to join the Slack group. I'll select an initial batch to join the Slack group from applications received. Cost to join the group is $25 for the year. By keeping the group small and focused, we'll attempt to connect everyone with a role that matches their background.
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MedStack raised a CAD $2.4M/ USD $1.8M seed round. Last week’s newsletter wasn’t consistent with currency tickers. In addition, the company has raised a total of USD $2.3M to date.
Future Funding Round 🔮
Wingly, a Paris-based flight sharing platform, is very likely to raise a Series A round by year end, according to Emeric de Waziers, co-founder and CEO. To date, the company has raised a total of €2.5M. Wingly last raised a €2m seed round last March. The round took 7 months to come together and the company knew the lead investor for 2 months prior. Existing investors will likely participate in the Series A round. The company has not yet defined how much capital it will look to raise in the round. Wingly has a “good control” of its customer acquisition costs and experienced 4x revenue growth between 2017 and 2018, as well as more than 200% annual growth on all metrics. The Series A round would likely be a combination of equity and debt. Wingly estimates that the TAM that it is going after to be approximately €35bn. Competitors in the space include BlackBird ($10M Series A), AirAffaire, Lilium Aviation, Volocopter, as well as Uber Elevate, and Airbnb’s move into aviation.
Recent Startup Funding Announcements 💰
Elsa, a San Francisco-based smart AI English pronunciation assistant, took about 2 weeks to go from first investor conversations to receiving a term sheet for its recent $7M Series A round, according to Vu Van, founder and CEO. The company has known the lead investor, Gradient Ventures, since late last year when the firm approached the company regarding this Series A round. Elsa has raised a total of $12M to date (CrunchBase had the figured pegged at $10.3M). Capital raised will, in part, be used to expand within Indonesia, Japan, and India.
Codecool, a Budapest-based coding school, took about 9 months to raise its recent €3.5m Series B round, according to Bálint Viktor, Head of International Expansion. The company spoke with 40-50 prospective investors, 15 of which were serious, and received 3 term sheets. Codecool has known team members from Lead Ventures, the lead investor in the round, for years. Codecool is Lead Ventures’ first investment.
G2 Esports, a Berlin-based global eSports brand, began outreach for its recent $17.3M (€15m) funding round in mid-2018, according to Carlos Rodriguez, CEO. The company considers renowned organizations such as TSM, Cloud9, and TeamLiquid to be its biggest competitors. The company has raised a total of $24.6M to date.
New VC Funds 💸
GFR Fund, a San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm, will continue to focus on seed stage investments, and occasionally pre-seed, with capital from Fund II, according to Teppei Tsutsui, Managing Partner. The firm announced the raise of $20M for its second fund earlier this month. GFR typically participates in rounds, but will lead sometimes, when it makes sense for both the company and the firm. While the firm is based in San Francisco and sees North America as an important market, GFR also looks for investment opportunities in Europe and Asia. The firm launched the fund in early 2016 and has made 22 investments from the fund. The majority of the capital from Fund I has been deployed but the firm will look to a make a few new investments in 2019 from the fund. Capital is also being reserved for follow-on investments with existing portfolio companies. In 2018, the firm made 5 new and 4 follow-on investments. In 2019, the firm is targeting around 10 investments from Fund II. Thus far, GFR has completed 3 investments, including investments in FanAI and ProGuides, both of which are in the eSports space.
Equity Venture Partners (EVP), a Sydney, Australia-based venture capital firm, took about four months to raise $35M for its recently announced second fund, according to Howard Leibman, founder. Initially, the firm raised about half of the fund from the management committee and its close network over the course of a couple of months. EVP then approached broader networks to reach its target in a second campaign that lasted a similar amount of time. The firm’s focus is on the B2B software space. Generally, seed is the earliest the firm will invest but EVP puts an emphasis on having enough data points in order to make a decision, rather than being stage-specific, as stage categories are more often blending together. The firm leads virtually all investments it makes and tends to make a small number of large investments (relative to its fund size). EVP is an Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership (ESVCLP), which provides tax free gains and a tax off-set to its investors but also restricts the firm to equity transactions. As an ESVCLP, only 20% of the firm’s investments can be overseas, however the firm has a preference for local companies. EVP closed Fund I to new investments in the mid-2018 with about 30% of the fund remaining for follow-on investments. Each year, the firm targets 6 or 7 new investments and 3-4 follow-on investments. This will be the same for 2019 across each fund, however Fund II isn't making new investments.
Tip/Productivity Hack ⏳
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson. – Bálint Viktor, Head of International Expansion at Codecool
Work-life Balance 🧘
For me, it’s more about work-life integration than balance. However, I strongly believe that we can have both at the same time. I feel that being an entrepreneur allows me to pursue my passion while also feeling rewarded. Having a family provides you with the valuable support you need to keep going and is the rock you can rely on during the roller coaster ride of building a company.
Pretty important; this of high importance in our life and we have more practices individually to keep this. We do a lot of sports.
I don’t believe much in work-life balance early on in peoples’ careers. Maybe it works for some people, but I know for a fact that this doesn’t work for me. I’m working 24/7. I think about work when I’m showering, watching movies or having dinner. I take notes randomly all the time and that’s how I’ve come up with some of the best strategic initiatives in the last 14 years.
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