Slack Is Raising Another Round At Up To A $1B Valuation

Slack, the enterprise collaboration platform co-founded by Stewart Butterfield of Flickr fame, continues to defy its namesake: we have heard from sources that the company is raising a new round of funding at a valuation of between $800 million and $1 billion, just six months after raising nearly $43 million.

The total raise is said to be eight figures, and Sequoia and KPCB are participating, our sources tell us, although the company has been talking to multiple other VCs. The Information has also reported the rumors.

Asked for confirmation on the funding, Butterfield would not comment directly except to say that 2014 has been “crazy,” and that it would be very likely that his company would raise money some time “in the next six years.”

(Butterfield is known for his sometimes colorful ways with words.)

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The Surprising New Math of Startups

There were some revelations lurking in the data generated by the Kauffman Foundation’s Firm Survey, one of the longest and largest studies ever of privately owned startups. Three researchers, Carmen Cotei and Susan Coleman of the University of Hartford and Joseph Farhat of Central Connecticut State University, parsed the rich data to see what effect things like age, gender, and amount of startup capital had on company outcomes after five years.

They were a little amazed at what they learned. For instance, intellectual property had no significant effect on survival or closure. And they found no statistical difference in the survival or closure rates between male- and female-led companies. “This really surprised us,” said Farhat. “We haven’t been able to establish that definitively before.” Time to check a few assumptions at the door when predicting startup winners and losers.

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4 Types of Apps That Never Succeed

The truth hurts: most apps fail to become a sustainable business. Imagine what it would take for you to build an app that becomes one of those four to 10 apps that a customer uses on a weekly or monthly basis.

While building a successful mobile startup is hard, there are these four types that will unfortunately never make it. Are you building one of them?

1. Apps that don’t solve a problem.

Every successful business ever built, let alone mobile apps, provides a solution to a problem that customers are willing to pay for. Some of the most successful businesses were built out of problems that the founders experienced and solved for themselves, and then went out and got product/market fit. Continue reading

When Should Startups Hire A CFO?

Many founders and CEOs of startups don’t spend a lot of time thinking about CFOs. When it comes to finance for a startup, founders focus on more pressing needs: What’s my burn rate? How long is my runway? How does our annual recurring revenue (ARR) look? How much more money do we need?

As an entrepreneur who has sold two companies over the past decade, I can speak from experience that it isn’t until a startup reaches some success — systematic product launches, lucrative partnerships, international expansion and reliable revenue growth — until they inevitably begin to ask The CFO Question.

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How Trial and Error Helped World Series Teams Get to the Top

The term “business plan” hovers like a permanent cloud over the entrepreneurial lexicon, even though most founders grasp that their value propositions require regular revision in response to customers, competition, and cash flow. The question, as always, is how much revision? When is a setback something to learn from, and when is it a sign to abandon an idea? That is, how do you know when to iterate, versus when to quit?

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No Money to Start a Business? No Problem. Try These 5 Options.

You might be limited to a strict budget when you want to start a business, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options. It is possible to start a business with very little money, if you have the right combination of skills, work ethic and marketing know-how.

According to Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup, “To succeed in a business project, especially one you’re excited about, it helps to think carefully about all the skills you have that could be helpful to others and particularly about the combination of those skills.”

Follow these simple guidelines to start a business when you have little to no money.

1. Make something.

Yes, making something does take an initial cost in supplies, but oftentimes, these products can be sold for many times over their actual cost. What you decide to make is up to you, but there are several places you can sell your handmade options online:

  • Abe’s Market deals in natural and organic goods, such as lotions, candles, granola, and more.
  • Etsy is one of the largest online markets for almost anything homemade, from jewelry to wooden toys for kids.
  • Bonanza is another growing handmade marketplace, similar to Etsy. According to PC World, it boasts over 10 million visits per month.
  • eBay is one of the biggest online ecommerce marketplaces in the world, and its streamlined store options, easy checkout through Paypal, and customizable listing options make it a great choice for selling items.

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Singapore’s Infocomm Investments Brings Fund To Europe, Invests In Startupbootcamp FinTech

Aiming to build a bridge between East and West — specifically, Singapore and London — the Singaporean state-funded VC Infocomm Investments is extending its $200 million fund to European tech startups, including investing in the London-based fintech accelerator run by Startupbootcamp. The idea is to help the European/London startups it invests in to access markets in Singapore and Asia as a whole, with the former having ambitious plans to become a ‘Smart Nation’, creating a multitude of opportunities for tech startups home and abroad.

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