Daily Entrepreneurship- International (11 April 2019)

iMod Structures Raises $11M Series A To Build Out Modular Classrooms

Overcrowding in public schools is a widespread problem all over the country, particularly in California. Thus far, the solution has been to build portables to help accommodate the overflow of students.

Anyone who’s stepped foot in one of these portables can attest to the fact that they are not always the most comfortable or secure “buildings.”

Vallejo, California-based iMod Structures, wants to take the concept of portable classrooms to another level by bringing modular, or prefabricated construction, to the public education sector. And it’s just raised an $11 million Series A led by the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group to help it achieve that goal in California. The financing, consisting of a mix of equity and warrants, marks the first institutional investment in the company.

Unicorns, Undercorns, And Horses: A Guide To The Nonsense

It’s been more than a half-decade since Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures kicked off the unicorn craze. Noting in a well-read post for TechCrunch that an interesting cohort of private companies worth a billion dollars or more was worth examining, the post brought the “unicorn” into its current usage inside of tech.

And then tech itself did the term a favor, building and financing hundreds more. Now unicorns swarm like fleas, and simply snagging a $1 billion valuation these days is something that has been done in mere months and is a well-known vanity tactic used to juice hiring.

This has now gone on so long that many of us in the tech-focused journalism space are sick of saying the word. Kate Clark, Equity co-host and cool person, literally has “I am so sick of the buzz word [sic] ‘unicorn’” on her Twitter page. I agree with the sentiment.

Google Cloud’s new CEO on gaining customers, startups, supporting open source and more

After Thomas Kurian,  Google Cloud’s recently minted CEO, joined the company, he took hundreds of meetings to learn what the company’s prospective and current customers were looking for. The overarching theme of those conversations was always similar, he told me during an interview at Google’s Cloud Next conference: “Love the technology — amazed at it. [They] think that it’s the best of the best. But they want more people that can help them adopt it and improvements to how they do business with us.”

So that’s the first order of business at Google Cloud now. Kurian, who came to Google Cloud after 22 years at Oracle, said that the team is rolling out new contracts and plans to simplify pricing. Most importantly, though, Google will go on a hiring spree. “A number of customers told us ‘we just need more people from you to help us.’ So that’s what we’ll do,” Kurian said.

Walmart to expand in-store tech, including Pickup Towers for online orders and robots

Walmart is doubling down on its technology innovations in its brick-and-mortar stores in an effort to better compete with Amazon. The retailer today announced the expanded rollout of several technologies — ranging from in-store Pickup Towers to help customers quickly grab their online orders to floor-scrubbing robots. These jobs were, in many cases, previously handled by people instead of machines.

The retailer says it will add to its U.S. stores 1,500 new autonomous floor cleaners, 300 more shelf scanners, 1,200 more FAST Unloaders and 900 new Pickup Towers.

Uber, Lyft and the challenge of transportation startup profits

How much does transportation cost you?

In most cities, bus or subway fare might set you back $3 or so. A tank of gas, maybe $30 or $40 depending on your car. An hour of street parking? Sometimes it’s free, sometimes it’s a few bucks. And you can usually snag an economy seat on a round-trip U.S. domestic flight for less than $300.

These numbers probably ring true for most people. There’s just one problem: Everything you know about the cost of transportation is wrong.

Movo grabs $22.5M to get more cities in LatAm scooting

Madrid-based micromobility startup Movo has closed a €20 million (~$22.5M) Series A funding round to accelerate international expansion.

The 2017-founded Spanish startup targets cities in its home market and in markets across LatAm, offering last-mile mobility via rentable electric scooters (e-mopeds and e-scooters) plotted on an app map. It’s a subsidiary of local ride-hailing firm Cabify,  which provided the seed funding for the startup.

Movo’s  Series A round is led by two new investors: Insurance firm Mutua Madrileña, doubtless spying strategic investment potential in helping diversify its business by growing the market for humans to scoot around cities on two wheels — and VC fund Seaya Ventures,  an early investor in Cabify.

VC roundtable: How investors are helping fashion startups find talent

From the time between Forerunner Ventures’ $4.6 million investment in Stadium Goods in 2017 and the reseller’s acquisition by Farfetch late last year, Forerunner’s head of talent and business development Melissa Grillo said there was one area in which the VC focused most of its time: helping Stadium Goods hire new talent. After the investment, Forerunner assisted the sneaker reseller with hiring on the marketing and operations front.

Following a big investment, startups in the fashion and beauty spaces are faced with numerous challenges. Among investors, hiring talent and growing a company’s personnel is frequently mentioned as being one of the most important areas.

‘I invested into someone’s dream’: Why only 14% of angel investors are women

Angel investment contributes around £850m to the UK’s start-up economy each year, with entrepreneurs given not only access to capital but often free business advice.

But despite being made increasingly popular by the likes of Dragon’s Den, only 14% of angel investors in the UK are female.

The Anglia Capital Group (ACG) is trying to change this, by networking more diversely across Norfolk and Suffolk, as well as promoting the successes brought about by having female angel investors in their group.

Yanbo Wang is one of the women who are part of ACG, having sold her business in China in 2006 and moving to the UK to study English.

Raising Capital: Debt Versus Equity

During the course of their lifespans, most businesses will require an infusion of cash at some point. In the event that founders are unable to self-fund, they are generally left with two options: debt or equity. Often, this choice is dictated by circumstance, but sometimes entrepreneurs have multiple options available to them.

Having started five ventures in the past decade, I’ve explored both of these options. Depending on a number of factors within your company, each type of financing can play a valuable role. Let’s dive in.

Startup Myths: The Need For VC Funding

Among startup myths, the notion of a set path or benchmarks that have to be met is one of the most pernicious ideas to persist. There are clear objectives that any startup has to meet in order to survive and grow, but there are a number of ways in which entrepreneurs can go about hitting those marks. Traditional paths no longer hold the same resonance for today’s young entrepreneurs because the dynamics of business, and the world itself, have changed so much during this century.

The idea that a startup has to at some point seek out funding from venture capitalists (VCs) is one of the tentpoles of what could be considered the “old way” of doing things. A startup needs money to survive and eventually grow, and VCs have that money to ‘give’. And having VC funding is an imprimatur of viability and authenticity when talking with potential clients or partners, or so goes the thinking. It’s a shorthand to indicate that someone else has taken a look at your product and company and found it worthwhile enough to put a not-insignificant amount of money into the idea.

Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught? Yes, and the World Is the Classroom

I first met Misti and Will Staley last summer during the kickoff weekend of the Delta I-Fund accelerator, a program supporting early-stage entrepreneurs in Arkansas and across the Mississippi Delta region.

Something about this young couple from Helena – serious, poised, attentive – reminded me that starting a venture can be a profound decision. The adventure, joy, and allure of startup life might entertain a listener of “How I Built This” or a fan of Shark Tank, but at its heart, entrepreneurship is about solving a problem. And problems, by definition, are painful.

Three years earlier, I learned, Misti and Will had become parents. Their son, Freeman, was born with a condition that required him to be tube fed. Misti and Will spent months in the NICU before bringing Freeman home.