Feb 14, 2017 On Our Blog

Here’s What Happened at #DealCamp at Berkeley

Guest blogger – Adam Sterling is the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy, co-founder of Startup@BerkeleyLaw, and a former venture capital and startup attorney. I returned to U.C. Berkeley almost two years ago to help establish the university (and Berkeley Law in particular) as the world’s leading institution for the study and practice of law and entrepreneurship. After completing our second Venture Capital Deal Camp with 500 Startups last week, I’m confident that Berkeley is the place to be for investors, entrepreneurs, practitioners, and students interested in innovation. Below is a recap of Deal Camp – if you weren’t able to join this week, we’ll be back with another session in October!  Deal Camp is …

Feb 1, 2017 On Our Blog

How to Nail Your SaaS Trial: The proven six-step formula shaped from years of experience

The following guest blog post is adapted from the Nail Your SaaS Trial ebook, written by Autopilot’s CMO, Guy Marion. When your investors, advisors, and community ask how your product is coming along, you want to tantalize them with stellar activation rates, rampant word of mouth growth, and tweets raving about the onboarding experience. THIS IS GOOD Not luke-warm or confused feedback that your product has “great potential” if only they knew where to start. THIS IS BAD After spending years launching, optimizing, and studying SaaS trials, I’ve found there’s a formula for creating a high-performing onboarding experience—one that is educational, accelerates time-to-product success, and sets the right tone for your customer’s experience ahead. Now it’s yours. Step 1. Define …

Jan 17, 2017 On Our Blog

What does unconscious bias mean for entrepreneurs, investors, and the tech community?

Guest blogger – Rory Gerberg, Partner at Refound Bias at work Every second your brain is flooded with 11 million bits of information, but it can only process 40 bits consciously. To cope, the brain uses mental shortcuts to instantly identify which 40 to notice and remember. These mental shortcuts function like a newsfeed algorithm that filters your lived reality: there’s way too much information out there, so rules of thumb determine what comes on your radar in the first place. These mental shortcuts or rules of thumb let you focus on the job. But the drawback is that they can cause you to miss important information. This is why after an investor meeting, one investor confident in an entrepreneur’s capability …

Jan 17, 2017 On Our Blog

Can Muslims in Tech Fight Rising Islamophobia in the United States?

Guest blogger – Dustin Craun, Founder and CEO of Life Beyond Borders As we enter a new political era built on a combination of misogyny, racism, and fear-based politics, I think of an unlikely hero, Muslims in tech. Muslims in tech in the United States and around the world is one of the biggest stories not being told. Muslim technological talent, founders, and venture capitalists play a central role in the majority of tech ecosystems around the world. This is true of the tech ecosystems in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Atlanta. There are an estimated 300,000 Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area, and according to one study upwards of 20% of them work …

Jan 9, 2017 On Our Blog

Are there ghosts in your convertible notes?

Guest blogger – Adam Sterling is the executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy, co-founder of Startup@BerkeleyLaw, and a former venture capital and startup attorney. Are you investing in convertible notes or securities? Do you know what a phantom liquidation preference is? Did you know it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars? Let’s illustrate how with a simple example… Sally purchases a convertible note with a valuation cap of $5 million in Tuber Corporation for $100,000. Six months later, Tuber closes its Series A with a pre-money valuation of $10 million, selling new shares at $1/share. Thanks to its valuation cap, Sally’s convertible note converts at $0.50/share and she receives 200,000 shares of Series …

Nov 28, 2016 On Our Blog

WMD ’16: Post-Conference Q&A with Casey Winters

Guest blogger – Casey Winters, Growth Advisor to Pocket, Airbnb, Darby Smart; Former Growth Lead at Pinterest & GrubHub The below article is comprised of audience questions asked to Casey Winters during his presentation at Weapons of Mass Distribution 2016. Casey took the time to answer the questions in detail post-conference.   How do you personalize emails across all the metrics you recommended if you don’t have an in-house email data tool like Pinterest does? At GrubHub, we organized our user data into a weekly FTP upload to ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing Cloud) and built a complicated workflow inside of ExactTarget (you can do the same in Responsys). You can use their APIs too, but I don’t remember them being very good. What …

Nov 22, 2016 On Our Blog

WMD ’16: Post-Conference Q&A with Brian Balfour

Guest blogger – Brian Balfour, Founder & CEO, Reforge The below article is comprised of audience questions asked to Brian Balfour during his presentation at Weapons of Mass Distribution 2016. Brian took the time to answer the questions in detail post-conference.   “How do you determine your platform?” One of the most powerful things I’ve done in my career is to build my blog. The blog acts as a platform for me to distribute my work, thoughts, and creations. The reason having this is so powerful today is because I believe we are moving towards a world where credentials matter far less, and it is more about your actual work/output. My blog is the way I do that but with …

Oct 20, 2016 Growth Hacking and Distribution

The Yin & Yang of Marketing and Innovation

Guest Blogger – Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Chief Marketing Officer Mozilla  “Business has only two functions—marketing and innovation.” I have heard this quotation attributed to Peter Drucker, a.k.a. “the father of business consulting” (talk about a guy with some dubious children), as well as Czech novelistMilan Kundera. Citations for Drucker usually extend the quotation, adding, “All the rest are costs.” Kundera. Drucker. Novelist. Consultant. Marketing. Innovation. The Circular Interplay There’s a wonderful, circular nature to the relationship between marketing and innovation. First, I should say I do believe everything other than innovation and marketing in business is a cost—a necessary cost, usually. But the only thing that produces business profit is innovation and the discovery of a market need for that innovation—or, …

Oct 4, 2016 Growth Hacking and Distribution

Hooks: An Intro on How to Manufacture Desire

Guest Blogger – Nir Eyal, Author “Hooked: How yo Build Habit-Forming Products” Type the name of almost any successful consumer web company into your search bar and add the word “addict” after it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Try “Facebook addict” or “Twitter addict” or even “Pinterest addict” and you’ll soon get a slew of results from hooked users and observers deriding the narcotic-like properties of these web sites. How is it that these companies, producing little more than bits of code displayed on a screen, can seemingly control users’ minds? Why are these sites so addictive and what does their power mean for the future of the web? We’re on the precipice of a new era of the web. As infinite distractions …

Sep 29, 2016 On Our Blog

The 4 Components of a Winning Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail is part science, part art—there is no single best solution. Innovative technologies allow us to customize mail in new ways, and the USPS continually changes rates (usually raising them) and rules. However, a couple of things stay constant: Any direct mail campaign will include the four key components of list, offer, creative, and delivery. And at every stage, consistently A/B testing what you send and who you send it to will improve recipient response and lower your costs. Let’s take a closer look at the four main components of direct mail: The list: You need to mail the right audience, who are interested in your product. The offer: You need to provide the right offer to motivate them …