The sidewalks along University Avenue in Palo Alto used to be a great place to do business.
For decades there were several blocks where angels and VC partners camped at cafe tables and place names between lattes. However, the pandemic put an end to that.
Today, when you get the chance to sell your idea to an investor, it will likely be through a video call, not through a croissant or shawarma.
Given the number of calls investors take every day, “this new pitching model poses a new problem for founders,” said Flint Capital partner Andrew Gershfeld, whose company reviews approximately “1,500 online pitches a year.”
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To cut through the noise, he recommends the founders create a “teaser trailer” to share with their network before they start approaching angels and VCs. Not a complete deck, but an embellished elevator pitch meant to whet the appetite of investors before serving them the full meal.
Gershfeld says, “Since we don’t get the same face-to-face meeting opportunities, founders can get the attention of investors this way.”
His post identifies the essential elements of a teaser trailer and includes a template for structuring the presentation “for best impact”. It is remarkably detailed.
I sympathize with Palo Alto cafe owners, but remote pitching is a skill every founder needs, and it’s an effective way to level the playing field when it comes to fundraising. Start here.
Senior Editor, MovieUpdates+
April 5 Twitter Space: “How to Pitch Me” with Arvind Gupta
On Tuesday, April 5 at 2:30 p.m. PT, I’ll be hosting a Twitter space with Arvin Gupta, a partner at Mayfield Fund.
We’ll be discussing general pitch strategies and talking about what he’s looking for right now before answering questions from the audience, so please click here to set a reminder so you can join the conversation.
5 things budding founders need to remember when working with VCs
There’s nothing like experience as experience, which is why we’re happy to publish this article written by Zach DeWitt, winner of the 2013 MovieUpdates Meetup and Pitch-off.
DeWitt, who became a VC after selling Drop, Inc. on Snapchat in 2016, shares five essential lessons for budding founders who roam the wilderness in search of an investor who will be “a real partner.”
There is an inherent power imbalance when you ask a stranger for money, but “VCs should work to earn your trust,” DeWitt writes.
“In many ways it’s like finding the right partner.”
Why Nigeria is at the forefront of YC’s participation in Africa
With 18 of the 24 African startups in Y Combinator’s Winter 2022 batch coming from Nigeria, the country shows the depth and breadth of its engineering talent.
In a well-researched report, Tage Kene-Okafor examines how factors such as YC going the distance, increased investor interest, and relationships with previous Nigerian YC graduates, helped this vibrant ecosystem drive more companies to the accelerator than many other technology markets this year.
Bitcoin miners are vacuuming Kentucky coal towns, spurred on by state tax incentives
To extract fuel hundreds of feet below, the coal industry reshaped the Kentucky landscape, flattening entire mountain peaks and using the waste material to fill creeks and valleys.
But with coal demand falling as utilities switch to cleaner energy sources, the state is using incentives to attract Bitcoin miners, reports Jacquelyn Melinek.
By 2022, Kentucky will represent “18.7% of the total United States Bitcoin hashrate,” she writes.
Today, Bitcoin miners set up shop in abandoned factories, warehouses and certainly, former coal mines around Kentucky to use coal-generated power to run their installations.
“Bitcoin miners are buyers of last resort energy,” said Nick Hansen, CEO of Bitcoin hashrate management platform Luxor.
“They buy all the energy up to a certain price and they can do it wherever the internet is available.”
Our Favorite Startups From YC’s Winter 2022 Demo Day, Part 1
Y Combinator’s Winter 2022 Demo Day this year featured 414 startups from 42 countries across more than 80 industries.
That’s a lot of companies to consider, but in keeping with MovieUpdates tradition, Alex Wilhelm, Natasha Mascarenhas, Devin Coldewey, Christine Hall and Mary Ann Azevedo list their favorite startups from day one.
Our Favorite Startups From YC’s Winter 2022 Demo Day, Part 2
Day two of Y Combinator’s W22 revealed a number of trends: many startups are building up for the Southeast Asian market, fintech is still a winner, Nigerian startups miss the mark and India was once again well represented.
To wrap up our coverage, Christine Hall, Alex Wilhelm, Devin Coldewey, and Mary Ann Azevedo selected a few companies to watch from the startups that showcased on day two.
Despite tooling limitations, DAO optimists see new use cases for a democratic token-based future
Many online communities look to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) to raise funds so they can bring their ideas to life, but without tools and software to make it easier for people to participate, adoption has been slow.
However, some investors and consumers hope that as the tooling evolves, DAOs will generate more use cases than individuals pooling their resources to buy NFTs or popular objects, reports Jacquelyn Melinek.
“There will be a lot of evolution” [for DAOs] as we begin to embed the technology into human behavior,” said Sarah Wood, head of operations at Upstream. “I see a world where you can use a DAO for your book club, or whatever you want.”
Dear Sophie: What can we do to help workers who are Ukrainian citizens?
We have several employees who are Ukrainian citizens; one is on OPT and the other is on VOTE OPT. We want to ensure that they can continue to live and work in the United States.
Our most immediate concern is for the F-1 student whose OPT status expires in June. We entered her into this year’s H-1B raffle and we hope she will be selected to enter this week.
We have now learned that Ukrainians are eligible for TPS. Does that also apply to F-1 students at OPT? Do our other Ukrainian employees also have to apply for TPS, even though their work visas are still valid for a few more years?
What is the procedure for applying for TPS?
— Strong follower
Goldman Sachs’ OTC Bitcoin Options Trading Could Pave the Way for More Institutional Engagement
Goldman Sachs has been in crypto for a while, but last week’s trading of Bitcoin options may have paved the way for more institutional investment firms to begin exploring the cryptocurrency ecosystem, pending regulatory clarity, reports Jacquelyn Melinek.
“Trading itself doesn’t mean much, but the fact that it happened and opens up the opportunity for Goldman Sachs to trade this risk is hugely significant, and this is just the beginning,” said Tim Grant, head of Europe at Galaxy Digital.
“Once you get to that part, that set of hurdles, you’re intellectually and operationally free to do other things. It’s not trade itself, it’s that this will allow us to move in a multitude of directions.”
The hows and whys of raising OT security capital
Operational technology, which allows critical infrastructure to operate 24×7, is an area that faces significant cybersecurity risk, and as the US government takes steps to mitigate the threat, security companies targeting this area will benefit the most, Matt writes. Gatto, a director at Insight Partners.
In a guest post for TC+, he explains how recent attacks on critical infrastructure, pending regulations and growing concerns about Russian cyber-attacks are creating new opportunities in OT.
“It’s a good time for OT security providers to seek funding,” said Gatto. “The combination of increasing OT cyber-attacks and the rise of government regulations is fueling a funding frenzy.”
Co-founders of Ukrainian startup Delfast talk about navigating a crisis
Founded in 2014, Delfast has offices in Los Angeles and Kiev.
But after Russia invaded Ukraine, co-founders Daniel Tonkopi and Serhiy Denysenko began moving relatives and employees, finding ways to support their country’s defenses and “run a startup during a war,” reports Rebecca Bellan.
We now all work in two shifts. The first shift is our regular work and the second shift is our volunteer work. In Kiev, half of our engineers are now at war. They are in the Territorial Defense Forces, which is like an official civilian army.