Today we feature property crowdfunding company Fundrise and their $31M Series A round. The crowdfunding real estate arena is pretty full with lots of competing offerings/niches (re: Collaperty, Realty Mogul, CrowdStreet, etc.), but we like how Fundrise has committed in part to local investors in local areas because we also believe that consumers should be able to invest in their communities.
Funding to Date: $33M ($2M Seed, $31 Series A)
Deal Notables: Chinese Social Media company Renren led this round and at first glance that may seem a bit odd, but they also contributed to SoFi’s recent round so they are clearly making a play for the crowdfunding platform space. Who is SoFi you may ask? Check out our feature on them in our ROTW here!
Don’t worry dear readers, we haven’t forgotten about you! With the holiday weekend and getting back into the week our MMM has now become a MMM-TEE. Practical and informative, but not nearly as nice sounding as the original…
Recap of Last Week: Last week we had two VC spotlights, one on Paul Graham and the other on Chris Dixon, and we featured MeetEarnest as our ROTW!
What Lies Ahead: We will keep up with our VC spotlight and ROTW cadence and are working on a few new ideas in the coming weeks that we think you will enjoy! (Hint: think Term Sheet Madness meets the World Cup…)
Bonus post! (well technically we are making up for last week’s omission, but hey we live in the here and now right?)
Our spotlight is Chris Dixon, current investor at A16Z, co-founder of Founder Collective, and our newest “liked blog” inductee.
Name: Chris Dixon
Blog: http://cdixon.org/ (One of our liked blogs!)
Bio: Chris has a BA/MA from Columbia and an MBA from Harvard. He also founded and exited two companies (SiteAdvisor and Hunch) as well as having two stints at VC firms (Bessemer and A16Z). Not a bad resume if you ask us! More info here!
Miscellaneous/Interesting Facts: In addition to his daily role, he is an active angel investor and co-founder of Founder Collective, a seed stage VC fund that is run by former founders. We are big fans of Founder Collective and their mission of founders helping founders!
SOFI : Student Loans :: Earnest : Personal Lending?
If you have been following our prior Rounds of the Week, you know we here at C:V. are big fans of the disruption in the student loan space that SOFI is causing. Well, this week we are featuring a company that is armed with $15M to wreak havoc on the personal lending market in the same way SOFI is the student loan market! It’s time for you to meet Earnest.
Funding to Date: $15M ($15M Series A)
Deal Notables: We really like this business model of low-cost loans to qualified applicants via future expectations and less on prior history. That, and the market potential is staggering so we think Earnest has some serious upside. Another interesting note is that the company is based in San Francisco but chose Boston as their pilot city. Earnest claims it is due to the “high population of young working professionals” but we personally think Boston’s general awesomeness was the deciding factor. But hey, we aren’t biased or anything…
*Editor’s Note: This video is a bit old, but you get the idea…
Not a VC in the traditional sense, but we consider him to be a thought leader in the space as well as having quite the successful incubator (Y Combinator) that has garnered millions in VC dollars so we think it is more than fair to include him here.
Name: Paul Graham
Company: Y Combinator
Blog: http://paulgraham.com/ (One of our liked blogs!)
Bio: Paul is a founder, a visionary, and a powerful voice in the industry. He founded Viaweb which sold to Yahoo in the late ’90s and has been an active mentor and investor ever since. He co-founded Y Combinator in 2005 and it has become the preeminent startup accelerator in the world. More about him here!
Miscellaneous/Interesting Facts: In addition to his role at YC, his essays have been instrumental in many startups’ early lives. They cover many topics from getting funding, to generating ideas, and even how to grow. We are big fans of YC and his impact on the ecosystem here at C:V.!
The past few weeks have been interesting here at C:V. thanks largely in part to playoff hockey among other items. Have no fear though, now that our beloved Bruins (yes we are from Boston…) are out of the playoffs you can expect C:V. to get back to its normal ways and we are looking to add new content as well!
Recap of Last Week: Last week we had a light week with our Round of the Week on SpoonRocket and our book review on The Hard Thing About Hard Things.
What Lies Ahead: Since we missed it last week, we will have two VC spotlights as well as our ROTW and maybe even another feature post!
A16Z’s Ben Horowitz published an excellent book earlier this year on the many issues a CEO/founder runs into when building a business and sprinkles in a lot of anecdotes and tidbits he learned along the way as a successful CEO and founder himself. Check the book out here!
Name: The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Overview: This book dives into many aspects of Ben’s career and life and how he was able to navigate the exceedingly difficult path that is creating and growing a successful company. Along the way he details his trials and tribulations with Opsware/Loudcloud, his enterprise software company he ended up selling to HP, some advice on how to hire, fire, and retain talent, and our favorite part, a mention of his good product manager/bad product manager mantra!
Invest, Invest with Participating Liquidation Preferences, or Pass: Invest!
Investment Thesis: Much like Venture Deals is for aspiring VC’s/Founders who want to learn term sheets, The Hard Things is an absolute MUST READ for anyone who aspires to be a CEO or successfully manage a business one day. It is an in-your-face and to-the-point book that provides great advice and context for anyone who is looking to head down the startup/CEO pathway.
Is “On-Demand Delivery Dining” the food equivalent of the Mobile Payments battle of 2014? We seem to be seeing a lot of companies (we see you Sprig, Plated, Blue Apron, GrubHub, Munchery…) in the space raising rounds recently, and SpoonRocket is no exception. They recently raised an $11M A round to further their mission of creating the “Most Convenient Meal Ever”.
Funding to Date: $13.5M ($2.5M Seed, $11M A)
Deal Notables: With all the movement in the space recently, we wonder how everything will shake out. It appears there are a few avenues that these companies can travel down (ready to eat: SpoonRocket, cook yourself: Blue Apron, standard delivery of existing restaurants: GrubHub). We like the fact SpoonRocket claims and $8 fee and under 10 minute delivery in the ready to eat category, but are very interested in finding out what the proper logistical balance is to keep supply and demand in check with the pricing/delivery parameter when they eventually scale the business to greater/more disperse locations.
3 months of Monday Morning Memos, how the time has flown! Get all the info below!
Recap of Last Week: Last week we featured Marc Andreessen as our VC spotlight and had Deja View Concepts as our Round of the Week!
What Lies Ahead: This week you can expect the Hard Things book review, a spotlight, and a ROTW!
As if he needs any introduction, Marc Andreessen is long overdue for our VC Spotlight feature. The first half of A16Z and a key voice in the innovation economy, Marc is a favorite of ours here at C:V.!
Name: Marc Andreessen
Company: Andreessen Horowitz
Blog: http://blog.pmarca.com/ (One of our liked blogs!)
Bio: Before A16Z Marc was a co-founder of Opsware with Ben Horowitz. Even before that, and what he is most famous for, Marc created the first widely used web browser Mosaic. More on him here and here!
Miscellaneous/Interesting Facts: Marc recently penned a few tweets about acquisition valuations that we found fantastic as a lot of value can be created when a company is rolled up into a larger more diversified business regardless of the target’s current business.