🦄 The DART Weekly #8 ~ Creating FOMO in 4 minutes

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December 12, 2020

Entrepreneurship Chronicles

High tech, sailing yachts racings and Hawaiian islands are just a few of the eccentric passions of Larry Ellison.
After growing up in Chicago, he dropped out of college twice before moving to California and funding his first company, Software Development Laboratories, in 1977. That same company would later change its name to Oracle Corporation in 1995.
His revolutionary idea was to define a way for computer systems to store and access information, the so-called relational database. It was groundbreaking for the ‘70s and Oracle became one of the drivers for the growing computer industry (dsp). Thanks to its strategic position, when in the ‘90s the dot-com boom happened, Oracle was ready to sell databases to the new tech companies making a lot of profit.
After becoming one of the richest men on Earth (he is now ranked #5 Billionaire on Forbes), Larry started focusing on some expensive hobbies. He founded a team to compete for the Louis Vuitton Cup, he bought the Indian Wells tennis tournament and 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai (Fortune). In 2014, Ellison officially stepped down as Oracle CEO and he is currently focusing on new gigs: he is one of the major investors in Tesla.

THE TAKEAWAY
Ellison secured Oracle’s market leadership through a series of acquisitions like Sun Microsystems. He invested in his direct competitors like Salesforce and NetSuite (which resulted in $3.5B in cash). Good ideas are great but perfect execution is better and Ellison executed really well.

Ventures 101

🎤 Pitch, please!

VC investors analyse hundreds of startup decks every year, skimming a single deck in 4 minutes or less. To stuck out founders must do the impossible: be easy to understand, show traction and create trust. There is no perfect blueprint, but the well written narrative must include the themes below (sifted).

Company Purpose

It is often included in the cover to start with the boom (hackernoon). It is the pitch in the pitch, a powerful and self-explanatory statement condensing the purpose of your startup.

Customer Problem & Solution

The problem should be described from your customers' point of view of. And your solution for it should follow. The latter must focus on benefits, not features (Pitch Deck Fire). Tangible is the keyword here.

Your Business and the Context

The alignment of big enough market, right timing, little-to-no competition and a solid unique value proposition (Medium) is very appealing to investors (Bplans). The questions you must answer are "How much?", "Why now?", "How about the others?", "What's special about you?".

Revenue Model + Go-To-Market

It's time to clarify how you are planning to rack up your profits and to reach your customer. Sales & Marketing channels are key for the success of a product... Coz there is no such thing as a product that sells itself. 

Founding Team / Executive Team

Execution beats idea. Why is your team the best fit for executing on the vision? Show that you have the relevant experience and skills for this business.

Track Record AND/OR Testimonials

Be data-driven and provide the most important financial metrics and unit economics (Medium <- worth reading). They are pivotal to give an overview about the company history. Also showing notable testimonials and investors is helpful to create some FOMO.

Funding Round

You are reaching out to investors asking for money. How is that money going to be used? What's the financial prospect for an investor joining the round that you are raising at the moment? In short: what's in it for them?

... Be sharp as a DART

Concise - Essays can't be read in 4 minutes. Keep the presentation well below 20 slides.
Swift - Less is more. An overcrowded slide full of text brings nothing but migraine.
On target - The deck requires adaptation depending on your stage and whether you'll use it for a vocal presentation.

Looking for tangible example of a crisp investor deck? Go here.
Craving more examples? Check this!

Of Unicorns and Cowboys

🦄 The Rounds

The deals worth knowing in Europe and beyond - ordered from coolest to coolio


🇸🇪 Linking: After its recent €85M funding round, Tink is now valued €680M. The Swedish fintech will double down on expanding its European network of 3400 banks. Its API are consumed by 8000 developers and power services for 250 million people.

🇩🇪 Rocket science: Isar Aerospace raised €75M. The Munich-based startup develops a micro-satellite launcher (launchpad & rocket) that will lower satellites launch prices. It racked $500M in customer inquiries.

🇳🇱 Rare: Mosa Meat completed its £56M Series B. The startup is bringing down the costs of its cultured meat for commercialization in the next years. Its first hamburger, widely sponsored by Sergey Brin in 2013, had a €250k price tag.

🇲🇹 WOZX: The Woz is back in business. He cofounded Efforce, a blockchain-powered marketplace for backing "green" projects. After 1 year in stealth mode, the Malta-based startup completed ICO, reaching a swopping $950M valuation.

🌈 The Pots

The exits you should follow in Europe and beyond - IPO, direct listing, SPAC, bankruptcy ... all awesome stuff


🇺🇸 Broken Dreams: Uber is selling its autonomous vehicle business to Aurora Innovations, where it will invest $400M. The ride-hailing behemoth has recently sold its air taxi division too. 

🇬🇧 Happening: SPACs are reaching across the pond. Payment platform Paysafe went public on the NYSE via a merger with a SPAC. The fintech company was valued around $9B.

🤠 The Funds

The tales of unicorns' hunters you should know about - particularly relevant if you are a founder looking for backing


🇪🇺 Capitalize: Highland Europe launched a €700M investment fund. It will write checks ranging from €10M to €70M with one focus: "Tech, growth and Europe".

🇬🇧 Equity: Ada Ventures launched its first $50M fund. The firm will invest unbiasedly in the best UK and EU talents. In its mission the firm will be supported by "Ada Scouts", individuals coming from historically underrepresented groups.

🇮🇹 Call of duty: Italy has a brand new fund and it's called Cysero. Backed by industry giants Brembo, Radici Group and Persico Group, it will have €100M for investments in robotics and cybersecurity.

🧑‍🎤 ... and The Quirky Ones

The crazy stuff we gossip about while sipping our chai latte - it's like others, but better

🇪🇺 Wrapping: State of European Tech 2020 is out. This year $5B were invested in European companies and the top 10 EU IPOs raised for $32B. Improvements in diversity are still lagging behind.

🇨🇦 Minting: Wanna scale? Get yourself a Ryan Reynolds! The Canadian actor, who sold his stake in Aviation Gin for $610M, is now making the fortune of mobile virtual network operator Mint Mobile.

🇩🇰 Gargantuan: Danish Novo Nordisk Foundation is world's biggest biotech investor with a total of $65B AuM. Its subsidiary Novo Holdings backs ventures from seed to Series C and beyond.

🇬🇧 Mystery: Ex-OnePlus executive Carl Pei shared that his next ventures will be a hardware company. He has raised $7M from notable investors, but the focus of the venture is yet to be told.
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