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Posts by Michael Baum

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For Silicon Valley the Hangover Begins

For Silicon Valley, the Hangover Begins

WSJ

Not long ago, employees at Practice Fusion Inc. reveled in the technology boom, munching daily on free healthy food, enjoying "Phenomenal Friday" gatherings and racing around the office on tricycles. Today, the Silicon Valley extravaganza is waning. The San Francisco electronic medical-records company has booted its founding CEO, laid off a quarter of its staff and cut back on projects to save costs.

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Valuations: Investors are Pulling Back

If you are raising money now (and who isn't), its good to be in touch with the macro statistics at your stage, in your geography and industry for fundraising.  With global stock indices down 10%+ only a few weeks into the new year, investors are nervous.  We've seen this movie before.  Public markets exhibit substantial volatility and eventually the private equity and venture capital markets follow suit.  In the past five year seed stage investing and valuations have been somewhat immune to gyrations from above, but this seems to be cooling off too.  The sheer inflow of money into angel investing over the past decade has had much to do with the immunity.  But now that angel investing growth has leveled off we're seeing the effects nervous public market investors can have on seed stage investing.  

Yes you need to raise money and you need to do it according to your business plan.  Putting off fundraising is usually not an option.  But what you can do is be flexible.  Flexible on valuation. I've preached this in the past - you need to let the market determine the valuation you receive. Now more than ever its important to be flexible.  
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Presale Demonstration of Experience

If you are working on a consumer product today, you are probably thinking about running a pre-sale.  Its a great idea.  Why?  Well first off a pre-sale can raise non-dilutive money that you can use to finish building the product.  Secondly a pre-sale to early customers allows you to start building a buzz around your company and your product.  But most importantly a pre-sale allows you to experiment and perfect many of the nuances of the customer journey. 

In our Market Engagement Challenge we cover the concept of the major five phases of each customer journey. 

![Team Challenge Example](https://founder.org/about/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Screen-Shot-2016-01-14-at-20.17.53.png)

Perhaps the most difficult part of early customer journeys is engaging your market before you have a product. Who will buy something without seeing it? This is where you need to get creative.  Yes a lot of companies demonstrate their pre-release product but not many engage their early customers and potential investors the the real experience of using the product and how the product is unique.  

In this attached video, PRYNT a company from Polytechnique in Paris has done a masterful job of creating a really nice customer jour and experience with their product.  Watch the video and think about how you can make your product animated. 
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We're Growing Our Product Team

We're growing our team at FOUNDER.org. If you are a talented product manager or know some one to refer, consider talking to us and lead the future of our 8D Company Building Science and platform.

[Learn more here.](http://bit.ly/1MQ3o55)
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RapidSOS Featured in the Best of 2015 at MIT

Finding 911 callers instantly

MIT News

The nation's 911 dispatch centers aren't really equipped for the mobile world. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), around 70 percent of 911 calls today are made via mobile phones. Yet when fielding such calls, dispatchers rely on landline-based systems that sometimes fail to pinpoint a mobile caller's location quickly - or at all - during time-sensitive emergencies.

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Happy Holidays from all of us at FOUNDER.org

Thank you to everyone for an amazing 2015.  All of us at FOUNDER.org are looking forward to an innovative 2016 where we alter the future together!

Michael and the FOUNDER.org Team
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Our Secret Society in Silicon Valley

My friend and CEO Kristen Koh Goldstein, CEO of Scalus, recently revealed the secret society of female founders in Silicon Valley.  Guess what?  She didn't give it a name, build a conference around it or try to profit from it.  Kristen is a pragmatist and an entrepreneur.  Instead she elaborated on the fact that female CEOs and founders are just like everyone else - smart, willing and able to help each other when the needs arise. 

[Read more here...](https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/our-secret-society-silicon-valley-kristen-koh-goldstein
)
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Mapping the IoT Market

[This is a great piece by CB Insights](https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/iot-market-map-and-company-list/?utm_source=CB+Insights+Newsletter&utm_campaign=dbec9f1eac-CorpInnovation_12_15_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9dc0513989-dbec9f1eac-87105529) to understand the IoT marketplace.  They cover wearables, connected home, infrastructure and sensors, healthcare, smart utilities, industrial, UAV Drones, connected cars and retail. Obviously there are a ton of companies that aren't mentioned, but the point is more of a framing up of the IoT market.  
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Make People Give a Shit About Your Startup

My [Slush](http://www.slush.org) presentation in Helsinki about startups and breaking through the noise.
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The Venture Capital Funnel

This article is a must read for everyone who is raising money.  Oh okay for everyone!  Great data on the state of funding rounds in venture capital for young companies.  The whole idea of doing a pro forma fund raising and looking at your five year operating plan cash flow and cap table is what we've been stressing with you.  Realize what you are getting into and the fact that fundraising is a marathon not a sprint and you need to have a plan to get there.