Category: Column

June 8, 2019 Off

Everyone loves pizza, including VCs

By Jill T Frey

Sometimes a person (I’m not naming names here) tires of staring at startup funding data, and her hungry mind wanders to pizza.

But ordering a pizza in real life isn’t always the best choice for such people/reporters. So instead, we’ll pivot to the next best (not really) thing: Looking at what startup investors are doing vis-à-vis the pizza industry.

Turns out, VCs and growth investors are finding lots of ways to toss money at the space. A query of Crunchbase data rolled out more than 50 companies funded in the past couple of years that mention pizza in their business descriptions. In the chart below, we slice into 10 of the most heavily funded and intriguing pizza-preneurs.

Taken together, … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Economic development organizations: good or bad for entrepreneurial activity?

By Jill T Frey

In developing VC markets such as the Midwest, some may think that funding from the government or economic development organizations are a godsend for local entrepreneurs. Startups are often looking for all the help they can get, and a boost in funds or an attractive set of economic incentives can be perceived as the fuel they need to take the next step in their growth journey.

While this type of funding can be helpful, a startup should ensure that funding from these sources is … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

Is there potential for blockchain in copyright and licensing applications?

By Jill T Frey

By all accounts, we appear to be in the early stages of a classic “hype cycle” about the potential for uses of blockchain technology. Careful analysts need to filter out that noise, but, as with all technology bubbles, there are blockchain skeptics, and blockchain enthusiasts.

I am somewhere in the middle — currency speculation, in my opinion, is nothing but a big distraction; it is improving information services that I am interested in. And I’m most interested in technologies that show … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

The 10 benefits and policies any modern workplace should have

By Jill T Frey

Want to attract (and retain) top talent, making your company’s workforce more competitive and cutting down on turnover costs to boot? The simplest way to do so starts with the benefits and policies you offer to employees.

We already know that benefits play a major hand in how candidates evaluate a job offer. One recent survey conducted by Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women, in partnership with Extend Fertility, found that 87% of professional women say a benefits package is important or very … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

8 benefits and policies that are making your company seem outdated

By Jill T Frey

The competition for top talent today is more fierce than ever. And when it comes to attracting and retaining that talent, we know that benefits play a major hand in how well an employer fares.

To that end, Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women, in partnership with Extend Fertility recently conducted research on the benefits today’s female talent cares most about. After surveying 1,000 professional women, we found a full 87% of them said a company’s benefits package was either important or very … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Apple’s global accessibility head on the company’s new features for iOS 13 and macOS Catalina

By Jill T Frey

From dark mode in iOS 13 to a redesigned user interface in tvOS to the dismantling of iTunes to the coming of iPadOS, Apple made a slew of announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday in San Jose. And accessibility was there in full force.

Accessibility, as it always does, plays a significant role in not only the conference itself — the sessions, labs and get-togethers all are mainstays of the week — but also in the software Apple shows off. Of particular interest this year is Apple’s Voice Control feature, available for macOS Catalina and iOS 13 devices, which allows users to control their Macs and iPhones … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

YouTube’s bully problems prove that community doesn’t scale

By Jill T Frey

Editor’s note: Drew is a geek who first worked at AOL when he was 16 years old and went on to become a senior writer at TechCrunch. He is now the VP of Communications for venture equity fund Scaleworks.

I have a confession to make. It’s something that I live with daily. It’s not that I’m not proud of it…it’s just that I’m never sure how people will see me after they know my “secret.”

Here goes nothing.

I.

Was.

A.

YouTuber.

Yes, there it is.

Whew, I feel so much better. Or do I? Actually, I don’t. Get ready for a whole lot of “In my day…” and “It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” because to quote Whoopie Goldberg in Ghost, “Molly, you in danger girl.

In the beginning

Just to set this up, I’m from Philly. Basically as far away from “Silicon Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Which type of funding is actually best for your business?

By Jill T Frey

When starting a tech company, there seems to be a playbook that most entrepreneurs follow. While some may start with a bit of bootstrapping, most will dive straight into raising seed money through investors. In many cases, this is a great path. It’s a path I’ve taken twice myself, first with GroupMe, and then again with Fundera.

Ironically, though, my second venture-backed company is a business focused on helping entrepreneurs find debt financing—a process I’ve gone through only once myself. But after five years of building and scaling this business, it’s made me take a step back and consider the question of when and where debt financing might be a … Read the rest

June 4, 2019 Off

Dilution: The good, the bad and the ugly

By Jill T Frey

Since 2013, SparkLabs Group has invested in more than 230 companies, and my general advice to our founders and portfolio companies hasn’t changed: I always tell them not to overthink valuation, know what they need in terms of capital for their seed round and how there is “good dilution” and “bad dilution.” Whether your dilution ends up being good or bad (or ugly) generally depends on how well you execute.

To solidify my advice, I sometimes go through the math of possible seed rounds and how future rounds can play out. To keep the discussion simple and focus on my core points, I keep the amount of investment the same and assume … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Is your event strategy paying off? How to calculate your event ROI

By Jill T Frey

Events have increasingly become an important channel in the marketing mix, despite how notoriously “impossible” it is to measure the ROI, or return on investment. When people show up to your event, they are willingly giving you their attention for hours on end – not trying to avoid attention-grabbing ads.

A well produced experience provides a great way to reach outside of your existing networks, build a pipeline of new customers, transform existing customers into superfans, and position your brand as a thought leader. In 2017, only 7% of marketers … Read the rest