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Beta, Companies to Watch, Innovation, People to watch, Spotlight, Startup, VC, Women In Tech

Investor: Shaun Maguire


shaun maguire sequoia capital

Shaun Maguire has left GV,  a subsidiary/investment arm of the tech giant ‘Alphabet’ to join the legendary Sequoia Capital and head up their seed and early-stage investments.  In his duties with GV he was known for his focus in science based technology and startups. He is also the founder of a cyber-security company called Expanse. In his career he has helped pioneer everything from Quantum computing, autonomous cars and the list goes on. Read more about the talent grab here  

Accelerator: V1 accelerator

V1accelerator is a brand new accelerator out of Los Angeles, CA who focuses on non-technical founders and getting an MVP (minimal viable product) whipped up quick and into beta as fast as possible. The rumor is they can get founders the first version of an app in roughly 30 – 60 days and for a fraction of the cost. This program is also mentoring their cohorts, doing demo days and introducing founders within the program to potential investors. We will be following this one and see what kind of startups graduate from the program. I believe the inaugural group is made up of 20 – 25 companies. 


Startups: IDnow + Octopus Ridesharing Ads

Both of these companies recently closed some pretty significant funding rounds and are a fresh breath of air within both of their industries. IDnow is a digital ID verification plafform and Octopus is putting tablets on the back of Uber and Lyft car seats ushering in a whole new wave of entertainment and ad friendsy. We’ll be keeping an eye on both of these startups especially IDnow as it is in a similar space as Zypp. Read stories about each of their funding rounds below. 

IDnow closes $40 million in funding


Octopus closes $10 million in funding





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Investment, Startup, Technology, VC

Recent Investments


Grafiti closes a pre-seed round with $1.6 million lead by FirstMark. Grafiti is a search engine for graphs, charts, facts, info-graphics, data, and insights.

Domio

Domio closes $100 million in their series B. Domio is building branded apartment-hotels with a focus on group travelers. I’m not sure what apartment-hotels are but it sounds a lot like another play and hybrid of airbnb which could be very interesting. To read more about the round and their plans moving forward, click here.


Tusk Ventures


The legendary Bradley Tusk does it again by closing $70 million for his latest fund. An integral part in Ubers success negotiating with governments and cities to scale their ridesharing platform, Bradley is now an OG in the tech/VC world and I’m sure Tusk Ventures has their eyes on some promising startups. Read more about the new fund here.
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Investment, POC, Podcast, Technology, VC, Women In Tech

Arlan Hamilton is a true outlier and defines the phrase ‘one of a kind’. She has overcome more bias than one could possibly imagine in this male dominated world; especially the world of tech. I hate to lead with all the social tags we use as humans to describe people but let me paint a picture so you can envision the mountains she’s climbed to be in the position she is in. Arlan is a black-gay-woman who has taken the VC world by storm and revolutionizing finance and and the landscape for under-represented founders. If you’re not too familiar with VC and the startup scene, let me give you one stat: Black women receive around .01% of VC capital that is invested into startups every year. This is an astonishing number and one that Arlan is changing as the days pass. 




If that isn’t enough, she started her journey of becoming a Venture Capitalist while being homeless in San Francisco and sleeping at the airport while taking meetings with other Venture Capitalist and making her rounds in the world hub of tech. Not surprised that Gimlet Media featured her for their season 7 of ‘The Startup’ podcast. To listen to the season, which is fascinating and produced in a cinematic and storytelling fashion by Gimlet Media, of which the 1st episode is playing above.

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Events, Investment, LA, Startup, Technology, VC, Women In Tech

This event looks like a must attend with two heavy hitters in the world of tech and pioneers leading the way for women in the industry. I will definitely be in the audience to gain as many nuggets as I can and network my a$$ off. LA has a thriving tech/startup scene and events that are happening all the time that provide tons of insight and valuable connections that a lot of cities aren’t as fortunate to have. Get off your computer for a few hours and get in the scene. AND, you can’t beat FREE food! RSVP Here


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Entrepreneurship, Investment, Knowledge Nuggets, Legal, Startup, Technology, VC

‘The Legal Standard’ in my opinion is making sure that you structure your company in alignment with your industry and stick to the basics. For me that was setting up Zypp (my app) to be able to receive investment from a VC (Venture Capital) firm in the case we pursued that route. Silicon Valley investments in startups are usually done via convertible notes or a SAFE (see article below for more information on both). 



Having the wrong legal structure can result in heavy delays while raising capital in order to get the right documentation executed or may lose you the investment completely. As a founder, it’s important to do your due diligence so you don’t look like an amatuer to investors or more importantly so you’re able to recognize the difference between a good and bad deal. After a long process, Zypp ultimately went with a convertible note while raising our friends and family round and I feel confident we’re set up for more successful raises in the future. Many thanks to our lawyer Lindsey for getting us on track and gracing the cover of our inaugural newsletter called RSVP. Lindsey is a partner at Smith Shapourian Mignano, a women and minority-owned boutique law firm in San Francisco, representing startups and small businesses. Lindsey took a very engaged and roll up the sleeves approach while restructuring Zypp to match ‘The Legal Standard’ that many of today’s successful startups use. 



Law firm, Startup Law, Legal

What we had to do: 
  • Reincorporated the company 
  • Change the structure from an s-corp to a c-corp
  • Issued Convertible notes instead of stock agreements
  • Formed Ambassador Agreements
  • Terms of Service 
  • Privacy Statement
  • Trademark (consulted me on how to go about this myself and worked out great)

There are many more factors that go into company structure that we won’t discuss today but here’s an outline of a few I’ve learned along the way (tax implications, number of shareholders you can have, cliffs, vesting terms, number of shares to start with, common stock vs preferred stock, etc) all of which you should be aware of. As a founder, it’s your job to familiarize yourself with as much industry jargon as possible. 


How to get your legal in order 

Before you say “I’ll just do it myself on Legalzoom” keep reading below for a few of my ‘DIY’ (Do It Yourself) tips. I tried that approach early on and it failed me miserably. 


Things I would use legalzoom for:

  1. Drafting quick agreements like an LOI (letter of intent usually not binding) or a simple  operating agreement with no more than a few owners 
  2. Registering a company as a sole proprietor
  3. Researching legal terms 
  4. Getting a free consultation from a legalzoom certified lawyer

Hiring a lawyer online: Why and How-to

  1. You don’t have a lawyer in your network and online is your only option
  2. DIY isn’t an option because the structure you need is too complicated
  3. Read all their reviews AND contact a couple previous/current clients 
  4. Find a lawyer that is hyper focused on your industry and has a track-record to prove so
  5. Your budget conscious; online has more options so prices can be cheaper
  6. Legalucy.com is a good site that walks you through figuring out the legal help you need

Ask a friend: This is what worked for me

I was very lucky to have a lawyer friend in San Francisco who gave me the referral to Lindsey which ended up working very well. The reason it was a good fit is because her firm targets ‘startups and small businesses’ so she knew exactly what I needed and how to get it done. Side note; stay away from lawyers who say they do it all. Lindsey has no problem referring me to someone in her network if I am needing financial assistance, questions about valuation or anything else that doesn’t fall in her wheelhouse.    


In conclusion: 
  • Find a lawyer with a laser focus on the industry/niche that aligns with your market. If you look at how fast legislation changes you would know it’s impossible for any lawyer to know it all. 
  • Ask a friend that’s already in the industry you’re entering for a referral to a good lawyer in the space. 
  • Your lawyer should listen to your needs and propose the best options. If they ask what you want to do without providing a definitive solution then RUN. In my experience, there is always “The Legal Standard” to do paperwork and your lawyer should know what that is OR they are just going to waste your time and money.
  • Remember it is ALWAYS your job as the captain of the ship to research, educate yourself and understand what you’re signing off on as owning a business comes with a lot of responsibility, especially when you take other people’s money.
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