🦄 The DART Weekly #12 ~ Genes and co-founders

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January 09, 2021

Entrepreneurship Chronicles

Ever wondered what your genes can tell about yourself? About your health and your history? About your ancient ancestors? Today, you can actually get all those answers for a bunch of dollars. Today's’ entrepreneurship chronicle dives into the great entrepreneur behind 23andMe, the company which is revolutionizing access to humane genome interpretation. We are talking about Anne Wojcicki.
Born in the heart of the silicon valley, she got her degree from Yale and worked a few years as an investment analyst in a San Francisco based fund. After six years spent working as a researcher and aimed by the intention to provide a positive impact to people, she followed her entrepreneurial ambitions founding 23andMe in 2006.
Today’s the company has an estimated valuation of $2.5b and Anne made it to the Forbes 100 most powerful women(Forbes).

Are you looking to know if you have the right genes to follow her career? Maybe 23andME and Anne’s story has more answers than you can think about! Let’s take today's takeaway directly from Anne’s words: “The challenge in a startup is you hit a lot of turbulence, and you want people who understand that it's just turbulence and not a crisis.”

Ventures 101

📚 Junior Founders Guidebook #1 - Co-founders

Problem? Identified. Solution? Drafted. Pitch? Polished. Prototype? Ready. Co-founders?

… Is that a requirement?

More likely yes than no.

Why do I need a co-founder?

Productivity. You can get a lot more work done if you have someone to divide the work up with. Plus, you can brainstorm and come up with better ideas than you could alone.

Moral support. Leading a company is an intense and taxing journey. It's great to have someone you can lean on for support during tough times.

Pattern matching to success. If you look at the most successful startups in history (Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft), they all had co-founders when they started (Y Combinator).


What am I looking for?

Complementary skills. Working with someone who complements you increases your chances of success. One approach is “one builds, one sells” (Medium).

Shared drive. An ideal co-founder recognizes your drive, mission, and passion, and shares it. Your partner will keep working hard in spite of hurdles, hardships, and failures.

Adaptability. Your startup will face some challenges you can’t possibly predict early, and being adaptable is sometimes critical. Especially when it comes to pivoting and doing boring work to get the thing going.

Disagreement.  62% percent of all startups fail due to co-founder conflict (adioma). Conflicts are inevitable, so better to test the waters. Start with a project to assess your chemistry, as well as your ability to compromise, accept failure, deliver when there is disagreement.


How do I connect with them?

Your network. Start with people that you know and you think would be great co-founders. They do not want to start a company with you? Ask them if they could introduce you to someone who could be.

Events. Great if you know what you are looking for. Are you after a tech co-founder? Attend some tech talks or even hackathons.

Accelerators. A few weeks to meet and test the waters with as many potential co-founders as possible.

Founder matching websites. Many online platforms are designed for business networking. They connect you to entrepreneurs, mentors, or just talking groups (Crunchbase).


But, what about Elon and Jeff?

They are outliers.

Of Unicorns and Cowboys

🦄 The Rounds

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

🇩🇪 Mambu: Mambu became a $2B unicorn after a round of €110M. Bank-as-a-service enables finance companies to deliver their products in Europe and beyond (Japan).

🇬🇧 Agnostic: The self-driving startup Oxbotica raised $47M from bp. Its flexible solution is suited for industrial applications: refineries, ports, and airports.

🇬🇧 High Street: NearSt raised £2M after a 300% surge in utilization. The London startup enables the online sales of brick and mortar stores to people nearby.

🌈 The Pots

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

🇬🇧 Full speed: Hopin acquired live-streaming startup StreamYard via a $250M stock & cash deal. StreamYard will retain its brand and product.

🇨🇦 It's-a me: Canadian Next Level Games got acquired by Nintendo, 13 years after its last M&A deal. They have been collaborating for over a decade.

🇺🇸 Lender: Affirm prepares for its IPO and aims for a $9B valuation. The IPO season resumes with the scaleup offering financing for small online purchases.

🤠 The Funds

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

🇪🇺 Ranked: 2020 is set to be a record year for VC investment... and VC fundraising. Here are the EU firms ranked by capital raised. Atomico leads the posse.

🇧🇪 Blockchain: Tioga Capital raised $17M for its first fund. It is the first blockchain-focused firm backed by a European sovereign wealth fund.

🇮🇹 Connecting: Italian Gellify launched a $24M investment fund in UAE. Focused on B2B SaaS startups, it plans to take them from the Middle East to the world.

🧑‍🎤 ... and The Quirky Ones

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

🇪🇺 Crystal ball: $50B fundraisings, 25 new startup unicorns, SPAC in EU, Climate tech on fire. Sifted experts share their 2021 predictions.

🇺🇸 IPOE: The lending startup SoFi agreed to the reverse merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp V. Chamath is happy.

🇪🇺 Paradigm shift: The EU became a direct shareholder in startups for the first time. Will the dawn of grants be beneficial or lead to a complete clusterfuck?
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