The year 2021 was a record-breaking one for African tech startups, with 564 companies securing over US$2 billion worth of investment.For the seventh consecutive year, Disrupt Africa is releasing data on the tech investment ecosystem across Africa, contained in the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2021…
Angel investing is vital to help build the next generation of high growth companies. Forbes shares a guide to getting started, highlighting the opportunity for successful entrepreneurs to support emerging businesses.https://t.co/skQYJNAlpW#angelinvesting
Please join us for a virtual Demo Day for the 2021 class of the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator in Partnership with The Nature Conservancy on December 9th at 12pm ET. Hear from the ten climatetech companies that are focused on building a world where people and nature can thrive together. Learn more and register here.
As a curator, there is nothing more helpful than feedback on what you think should be the focus of this newsletter. If you want to be a more active contributor, have an interesting startup, some great ideas for collaboration you want to share etc… Let’s have a chat.
I promise your voice is important and suggestions regularly incorporated into the digest. Please send me your ideas, exciting news, deals, tools and connect on LinkedIn and follow my blog at bergmoe.com 🙂
💥Congratulations Bryggefisk, you have been accepted to the Food Ecosystems Virtual 2021 Founder Institute! What a start of the weekend🌟🌟🌟
👉The Founder Institute (https://fi.co/join/food), the world’s premier pre-seed startup accelerator, is launching its first-ever global food and agriculture program, and Bryggefisk is a part of that batch.
Soon we will start up in Berlevåg with King grab, but the primary focus in the FI-program will be a development of the application we are working on.
👉 For more information, contact me. NB. We are also taking onboard a few additional investors to match some public funding.
Crypto currency for main street? The last year I have been screening for the the best solution for normal people and small business to get into the crypto currency world. Yes, there is a loot going on in the business now, but now I think I have found it.
With Wirex you can invest in bitcoin and pay for online services and use ATMs to take out cash.
Wirex – crypto currency game changer?
– Wirex is an innovative crypto payments platform, giving customers the ability to buy, hold, exchange and sell up to 20 traditional and cryptocurrencies from a centralized, intuitive app. This is one of Wirex’s most popular features. The company is proud to have been the world’s first to offer a cryptocurrency rewards scheme.
The programme automatically rewards customers up to 2% back in WXT. This is Wirex’s native token, for using their crypto-enabled debit card in-store or online.
– In 2020, the crypto payment card and bank raised £3.7 million crowdfunding on Crowdcube. This took the valuation of the company to £125 million.
– Wirex is based in London, with offices in Singapore, Kyiv, Tokyo, Toronto, Dallas, Dublin and Atlanta. With over $5billion worth of transactions processed already and rapid expansion into new territories, including the US and Japan, Wirex is uniquely placed to support and promote the mass adoption of a cashless society through creative solutions.
– Mastercard principal membership enables Wirex to issue payment cards directly to consumers, making it easier for people to buy, hold and exchange multiple traditional and cryptocurrencies. Consumers can instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Have a look at http://berg.ink/wirex and sign up for free and please give me your feedback. Do you agree that this can be a great way to get into the crypto currency?
Perhaps dieting and smoking spring to mind. But our lives are actually full of many habits.
A minimum of one-third of our waking life powered by our unconscious mind. We operate on auto-pilot, not fully cognizant of what we’re doing while we’re doing it.
Read more and search for “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” at Blinkist.com
It’s not surprising to find you have many more habits than you might think. Social habits, such as who sits where at the family dinner table; work routines like saying “mm hmm” and “a-ha” during meetings; eating habits that help us sift through multitudes of food-related decisions every day – and the list goes on!
Do you ever catch yourself checking your email for the hundredth time only to discover that, still, nothing interesting has arrived in your inbox? We call this the partial reinforcement extinction effect. Why are we repeating the same action, even without reward?
But there are other habits that you can’t see: habits of thought. If they are negative in nature, we can connect these habits to mental illnesses such as depression.
Whether thoughts are positive or negative depends on our appraisal of something that happens to us, and sometimes we appraise in unhealthy ways. Imagine you lost your job. If you’re in the habit of perceiving yourself as powerless and culpable, you’ll have trouble fighting the negative emotions that unemployment entails.
Another type of pattern is rumination – when you think about something repeatedly. Some say that retrospection can help us learn from our supposed failures, but there’s a difference between reviewing your experiences and wallowing in the misery and pain of them.
Story by Feliks Eyser first published at Medium.com.
I started my digital marketing company in 2009 against the backdrop of a global financial crisis. Most people thought a young university graduate — like I was at that time — should play it safe and wait for the business climate to get better before starting a company. I’ll never forget the middle-aged business owner who approached me at a trade show and suggested I was “very courageous” to start a company in“the crisis,” and wished me well as if I were taking a trip to some dangerous place from which I would never return.
My youthful ignorance turned out to be a blessing, although the first two years of bootstrapping were painfully humbling. My business card read “CEO,” but in reality, I was sleeping on an airbed under my desk. Two years later, armed with the proof of concept for our business model and bolstered by the tailwind of the improving economy, I raised my first round of financing. Eventually, I assembled a fantastic team of hundreds of people and later sold the majority of the company to a media conglomerate. It was a great ride, and I now believe that starting my company during a recession was the best move I could have made.
Why it’s better to start a company in 2020 than in 2019
Starting with a blank slate is your advantage in 2020. This year, the competition is weak.
If the majority of these companies got started during rough economic periods, it suggests that they may not be bad times to start a company. A “bad time to start a company” usually implies low consumer demand and limited access to funding. But that’s mainly a problem for startups that are already established. They have to manage the decline, after all.
With no legacy costs, no draining layoffs, and no bank calling you to cut the credit line, entrepreneurs who start companies now can focus on building a great new product or service. Starting with a blank slate is your advantage in 2020. This year, the competition is weak, and you can gain an advantage that might last for years.
Ingredients for success
In the world of startups, there is no guaranteed formula for success, but you need at least four ingredients to avoid failure: a good idea, an outstanding team, enough funding, and a way to find customers.
Here’s what that looks like in the current crisis of 2020.
1. Painkiller ideas
Great ideas usually either solve a real, significant problem or make life considerably easier. Think of great startup ideas as painkillers: People need them and are willing to pay. The year 2020 will produce a whole range of “painkiller-category” problems that will translate into entrepreneurial opportunities.
Millions of children can’t attend school. How can you solve that? Visit any quarantined household with small children. Those parents surely have a litany of new problems in need of a solution. Tens of millions of workers have gotten laid off. Hundreds of thousands of urban storefronts will be left empty by shuttered restaurants and struggling retailers. What will fill the voids in 2021?
Problems create opportunities, and 2020 is not lacking in problems. It’s no coincidence that companies like Uber or Airbnb were founded and thrived after the last financial crisis. They solved real problems (“I need extra cash”) and made life easier (“I want a cheaper, easier option”) at the right time.
2. Hiring during a recession
Finding great employees has historically been one of the biggest bottlenecks for startups. Here’s the biggest reason to start a company in 2020: For the first time in the last five years, you’re going to have access to an abundant pool of amazing talent. In 2019, companies had to bend over backward to attract great people. Outstanding employees were spoiled by poaching offers from competing companies. That drove rising salary levels and the frequency of job-hopping.
Today, the pandemic has forced millions of qualified, hard-working employees to be let go by their firms. Some of them — maybe you among them — will take matters in their own hands and create a startup. Others will be thrilled to be working for one.
In 2020 it will get much easier to compete for talent and retain employees. Perks like free kombucha, Disneyland furniture, and daily yoga classes at work suddenly sound so “2019” now. This year, offer meaningful work with good pay and possibly some stock options and people will gladly assemble their own Ikea furniture to work for you. Add to that the possibility of worldwide recruiting, which the work-from-home explosion has accelerated, and your inbox will be overflowing with applications.
3. Finding funding
Now you might be thinking, “This sounds all well and good, but it will be impossible to raise any money in 2020.”
I don’t agree. But before I address why, let’s clear something up: I think the last five years were a fake environment of fundraising. It felt like anybody and their dog could raise a $1 million seed round if they walked straight and put together 20 PowerPoint slides. There was so much money available that a company was able to raise $120 million dollars to build a $400 machine to squeeze juice from a plastic bag.
These times are probably over, but venture capitalists and angel investors are still here and still have money to invest. It will undoubtedly become harder to raise funds in 2020 compared to 2019. The 2020 funding environment will favor outstanding founders. They will still raise rounds, and the mediocre startups will suffer. But who wants to be mediocre anyways?
Let’s consider a temporary shortage of capital a good thing. Less funding means the quality of entrepreneurship will rise again. Fewer dollars will force everyone to work harder and get better. In my first two years after starting up, I would think three times before spending a dime. For example, we would never pay for any sales leads datasets but instead hack together a script to scrape such data from public sites for free. This instilled a culture of frugality that lasted much longer than the actual bootstrapping phase.
In normal times, nobody needs a $50 million Series A round six months after starting their company. A lot of such rounds led to premature scaling and created more damage than value. Potentially good companies like WeWorkblitzscaled straight into trouble.
Use the temporary shortage of capital to your advantage and foster a culture of frugality and wits. No business-class flights or $1,000 office chairs. The leaner you operate, the better.
4. Finding customers
When I started my digital marketing company in the financial crisis, a lot of companies had shredded their advertising budget. So needless to say, our products didn’t sell like hotcakes. But we knew there were still businesses out there that were doing well and who needed our services. Our job was to be smart and find them.
As a founder, your job in the first year is to build something that 100 people love, rather than something that 10,000 people kind of like. If you do an excellent job of creating something valuable, you’ll find those 100 people, no matter if it’s the year 2020, 2009, or 2001. That is the first stage for most startups, and during this stage, the macroeconomic environment just doesn’t matter so much. It will easily take one or two years until you have genuinely figured out product-market fit.
Take advantage of the low advertising prices as well. If you truly offer something that people need, now is the best time to attract users cheaply. With marketing budgets cut down to almost zero in a lot of cases, you’ll be able to buy low-priced ad inventory, especially in digital channels.
Here’s to the real entrepreneurs
The next couple of years in a downturn environment will be your training day. The sales you make will be the hardest of your life. The fundraising will be slow and cumbersome, especially if you’re a first-time founder. You will get scars. But those kinds of scars will make you great in the future.
Fortune hunters who are just in the game for easy money are likely to leave the scene during this crisis. But real entrepreneurs will enter the arena and stick around. Entrepreneurship is always a tough game with limited resources, no matter when you start. One of my mentors would always say: “As a founder, you have to eat concrete.” You’ll face a thousand setbacks in your journey. So you might as well start now when everyone else is too scared to join the race. You’ll have a head start.
Story by Feliks Eyser first published at Medium.com.