Category: stripe

June 8, 2019 Off

Startups Weekly: The Peloton IPO (bull vs. bear)

By Jill T Frey

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the proliferation of billion-dollar companies. Before that, I noted the uptick in beverage startup rounds. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to [email protected] or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

Now, time for some quick notes on Peloton’s confirmed initial public offering. The fitness unicorn, which sells a high-tech exercise bike and affiliated subscription to original fitness content, confidentially filed to go public earlier this week. Unfortunately, there’s no S-1 to pore through yet; all I can do for now is speculate a bit about Peloton’s long-term potential.

What I know: 

  • Peloton is profitable. Founder and chief executive John Foley said at one point that he
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June 8, 2019 Off

A peek inside Sequoia Capital’s low-flying, wide-reaching scout program

By Jill T Frey

Ten years ago, Sequoia Capital began quietly encouraging founders of its portfolio companies to consider which of their founder friends they might like to get behind financially. Sequoia would let them write checks to those companies, and it would share with them any later rewards.

It was a brilliant idea. It allowed Sequoia to keep tabs on entrepreneurs — and nascent technologies — not yet in its universe. It cemented the firm’s ties to the founders who were already in its family. Not last, it grew Sequoia’s already considerable influence in Silicon Valley.

Fast forward, and the ripple effects of the program have not only been wide-reaching, but they’ve quietly reshaped the industry in ways that only those closest to Sequoia have been able to fully appreciate — until now.

To learn more on the tenth anniversary of Sequoia’s “scouts” initiative — which has since been widely copied by other … Read the rest

May 29, 2019 Off

Stripe and Precursor lead $4.5M seed into media CRM startup Pico

By Jill T Frey

Google and Facebook are increasingly slurping up every ad dollar on the internet. Their dominant position is upending the business models of traditional and startup media companies alike. The click-driven ad model of yore is leaving a graveyard in its wake, as once high-flying companies like Mic collapse.

Learning from the wave of SaaS startups that have launched and gone public over the past decade, media companies are increasingly exploring subscription models as a way to provide robust, recurring revenue while also building closer ties to customers, to boot (btw, have you heard of Extra Crunch?). And customers seem ready to open their wallets, as well.

That transition from ad revenue to subscription means that the infrastructure undergirding these companies needs to be completely ripped out and replaced with new solutions designed to solve a whole new set of problems — and opportunities.

Enter Pico. The brainchild … Read the rest

May 20, 2019 Off

Why startups need to be careful about export licenses and the Huawei ban

By Jill T Frey

America is the land of free trade … precisely until it is not. Through a thicket of laws and regulations, the U.S. government has broad control over what can get exported to whom, particularly in areas with sensitive technology or national security concerns. In general, those restrictions are loose, which is why startups mostly haven’t had to think about export laws.

That open world is rapidly closing though, and startups could well be the most harmed given that they have limited resources to handle these sorts of bureaucratic processes and the potential large penalty fines.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order requiring that the Department of Commerce initiate a review of regulations and enforcement practices to ensure that U.S. entities (people and companies) don’t provide “information and communications technology or services” to a “foreign adversary.” That term was read as describing China, although nothing in the order … Read the rest