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Photo by Umberto on Unsplash

One of the key lessons you learn in startup life quickly is: you measure what matters and then make decisions from that. OKRs, and KPIs are born from this philosophy.

However, we are all equally well versed in the dark side of this, where one wrong KPI can lead to a worse outcome for all. The classic example of this is incentivising a sales team to sell as much as possible, but not qualifying customers and therefore you end up having runaway costs to acquire customers and churn can sky rocket after. …


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Photo by Jonas Kakaroto on Unsplash

Investors frequently get a bad rap for how they communicate between themselves and more importantly, with the founders they back, but luckily this is changing globally at a rapid pace and today more and more founders and investors communicate as peers.

Whilst no one is perfect, part of the reason this bad rap happens, is due to a lack of contextual empathy (understanding the circumstances the other person might be in) and perceived power dynamics between investors and founders. …


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Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

Making tough choices are part of the day-to-day at any startup or investment fund. However, how those choices are made varies greatly. Decision making within an organisation can range from hyper-gut-feel to hyper structured and rigid.

Whilst I don’t profess to be an expert on the subject, having now done over 350+ investments, one of the areas we needed to innovate to scale was around was how to best make good decisions efficiently and quickly. …


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Image by Duncan Hull — https://www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk/28251201308

When presenting/pitching, do you know & can you spot your company’s ‘Elephant in the room’?

From our favourite online encyclopaedia:

The expression “elephant in the room” (usually “the elephant in the room”) is a metaphorical idiom in English for an important or enormous topic, problem, or risk that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable or is personally, socially, or politically embarrassing, controversial, inflammatory, or dangerous.

It is based on the idea/thought that something as conspicuous as an elephant can appear to be overlooked in codified social interactions and that the sociology/psychology of repression also operates on the macro scale. …


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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

In a previous blog post, I covered how an early stage investor values a startup, but felt like there is likely more that can be said on the subject so consider this a ‘part 2’ to that blog post if you will. With the focus of this ‘part 2’ around how you can maximise your valuation and what are the drivers behind the boundaries of possible valuations for your company.

In my previous post, I covered how macro and geo contexts, amongst several factors, determine the relativistic value of a company to an investor on exit, and how traditional finance-driven valuations methods (DCF, etc) were inappropriate for early stage startups even if some of the elements that drive those finance-driven valuation methods were still applicable, such as expected revenues. I also covered how several factors about your company can influence what valuation you might be able to achieve. …


Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Mridula, CEO of Peppy Health* and we spoke about the real cost of lost human capital at work and beyond, the future of insurance that employers provide their teams and everything in between.

*For some background about what Peppy does, it gives employers a totally new range of employee benefits that have a huge impact on staff attraction, productivity and loyalty — benefits that people actually want. Their first products support new parents and women dealing with the challenges of menopause, with more in the pipeline.

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We often forget that throughout someone’s life, there can be massive changes in their home circumstances that impact their happiness, well-being and career prospects. From their employer’s point of view, this can radically change that person’s productivity and engagement at work, as well as driving attrition and the gender pay gap. …


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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

A couple of weeks ago, I shared 5 golden rules to consider when building a community-based platform. One of the rules was around Culture and how important it was to factor it in when building out your community. I wanted to explore this rule further and recently had the chance to get further insight on the topic from none other than UIPath founder, Daniel Dines.

UIPath, a Seedcamp company, is known for its culture (which was recently recognised for Happiest Employees and Best Benefits), so recently, when I had the chance to hear Daniel walk us through how he saw his company culture as critical for the success of UIPath, I was keen to hear how he implemented what many feel is a nebulous concept and one that is difficult to roll out within a company with uniformity and with authenticity. …


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When Seedcamp started back in 2007, there was a lack of great support networks for founders across Europe, and as such, we embarked on a mission to help connect those founders with the best people from across a network of founders, investors, operators, and functional experts.

That became the foundation of what we now call our platform, but our community and how we engage with it has not remained static over the years. …


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Japanese Tea Gyokuro K Wabi Sabi — https://www.maxpixel.net/photo-2715038

Nothing is ever transformed overnight, rather, it’s an iterative process of constant improvement.

One experiment in this direction, which we implemented almost a year ago to date, is what we internally call “Seedcamp Essentials”.

Whilst we don’t have the format 100% down (as we are always iterating on it), the general premise is how do we improve what we do by 1% every week within the scope of our organisation’s goals/KPIs? Borrowing from the initiative (and results) within British Cycling in 2003 led by Dave Brailsford, we modelled a variant that works for our organisation.

If it helps you in trying to implement something like what we did within your company, here are the core questions that make up the foundation for the Seedcamp Essentials…


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A team of US Air Force (USAF) fire fighters from the 185th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) spray water on a mock aircraft at the North Dakota Air National Guard (NDANG) Regional Training Site (RTS) in Fargo, North Dakota (ND). Photo Credit — SMSGT David H. Lipp, USAF

How do you know if you and your team have what it takes to raise capital from investors that aren’t family or friends?

As a founder, one of the most “black box” parts of speaking to an investor is determining what they’ll think of you and your team, after all, its the one variable of your company that’s the most frightening ‘judgement’ to come to terms with, as you can generally deflect any concerned opinions about product, business model, go-to-market, etc because you might have more insight than the investor, but on the completeness and capability of your team? …

About

Carlos E. Espinal

seed-stage investor @seedcamp | author of the http://fundraisingfieldguide.com book | podcasting at — https://m.soundcloud.com/seedcamp

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