Hello ,
“The ethos of not fooling yourself is one of the best you could possibly have. It’s so powerful because it’s so rare.” - Charlie Munger, WESCO annual meeting, 2002.
As we built Urban.us, we’ve encouraged founders to send monthly updates. They’ve always provoked email exchanges and sometimes meetings and introductions to folks in the Urban.Us Network. It’s tempting for us to assume that we can help with ideas or suggestions, and sometimes we do, but we think the real value lies elsewhere. We think these updates help to limit how much founders can fool themselves.
One of our favorite examples is the team from Revivn. Nearly one year ago, the team realized they weren’t on track to raise enough for their first seed round. We listened to feedback from other investors who passed. John and Anthony were crushed, but we set about focusing on turning some promising first transactions into strong recurring revenues. Today they’re overwhelmed with demand and have outgrown their warehouse space (for the second time this year).
Reviewing our exchanges with Revivn over the 12 months, we see questions, suggestions and introductions. But it occurs to us that there might be something even more valuable - our monthly questions and comments have helped us all avoid fooling ourselves. And hopefully this is greatly improving their chances of transforming the e-waste business.
[Startup Candidate] Meterhero - pays you for conserving energy and water while providing brands and organizations with a platform to reach potential customers. Review, vote, and comment here.
[Startup Candidate] Placeprops - high quality, on-demand location analytics for commercial real estate, out-of-home media and urban planning. Review, vote, and comment here.
[Insights] Hard Work Is Irrelevant - startup founders and early employees often feel like family. But is family the right analogy? Netflix makes the case for a better analogy - the pro sports team.
[Insights] New Climate Economy Report - building compact, connected cities can save an estimated $17T by 2050 while putting emissions on track to keep global warming within a 2 deg C range. This is just one of the analyses share in the 2105 New Climate Economy Report.
[Insights] Predicting Early Stage Startup Success - great research piece in HBR highlighting the capabilities of crowds and experts in predicting startup success across a range of sectors. Some of the results might surprise you.
[Insights] Growing Role of Corp Venture - good survey of recent startup experience working with corporate venture investors, highlighting some important differences versus traditional VC.
[Insights] Seed Stage Funding Correction? CB Insights seed stage data seems to support our general sense that things changed sometime in the summer. Take a look.
[Opportunity] Knight Cities Challenge - is providing $5m in grants to improve economic opportunity, civic engagement and talent retention in cities. While there are some important licensing requirements, the challenge is open to for profit startups. Learn more.
[Opportunity] NYC Bigapps Deadline - less than one month to go to submit your idea for Zero Waste, Affordable Housing, Civic Engagement or Connected Cities. More here.
[Insights] Paying Up Front Is a Legacy Concept - we think the subscription economy is a much more important idea than the sharing economy. Sam Lessin at The Information explains why.
[News] White House Funding for Smart Cities - “the general goal is to address issues like traffic congestion, crime, and climate change, while improving city services and economies”. More from The Verge.
[Startup Updates] The Valet Parking Space - this space became very competitive, very quickly. YC’s Vatler is the first casualty. Caarbon is looking at alternatives (rumored M&A discussions failed). Zirx (congrats to our friends at BMW iVentures) and Luxe continue to use their cash to battle each other in new geographies. Valet Anywhere continues to grow in NYC. Anyone for a game of Risk? More from CBInsights.
We’ll be at The Code for America Summit next week in Oakland.
Shaun, Stonly & Anthony
P.S. Tech folks routinely underestimate the impact of copywriting. It’s so tempting to say stuff like “flux capacitor”. But if Apple has taught us anything, it’s that you’re better off with “remarkable time travel design”. So next time you get ready to write, we highly recommend the soothing sounds of Jony Ive saying things about technology.
P.P.S There are loads of open engineering positions at Urban.Us companies in SF, NYC, Berlin and Denver.
Need more Urban.Us? Find Us on Angel.co and Twitter. Catch up on past updates here.