January Picks – Info Entrepreneurship
What we’re reading, listening to and loving this month.
What we’re listening to…
The Information Conference Calls
The Information was founded in late 2013 to “write deeply-reported articles about the technology industry that you won’t find anywhere else.” For a media company in 2018, its business model is refreshingly simple: subscription-only. To sweeten the deal for subscribers, The Information holds semi-regular conference calls that give readers the chance to hear from their subject matter experts: a group of highly connected reporters who routinely break stories.
Last month featured a call on 2018 Tech Predictions, and earlier this month, The Information held one to recap CES. After sharing their thoughts, reporters open up the lines for questions from subscribers: leading to Q&A sessions that feel surprisingly intimate, and redefine the relationship between media companies and readers.
What we’re reading…
Axios, a new media company, was recently reported to have a post-money valuation of $100 million. Not bad for a company that celebrated its first birthday last week. We love Axios for its ability to offer thoughtful analysis in a super digestible manner: no article is more than 500 words, and on their YouTube channel, videos next extend beyond two minutes.
More importantly, though, we love Axios for its mission: Fixing the broken media landscape. In their words: “Stories are too long. Or too boring. Web sites are a maddening mess. Readers and advertisers alike are too often afterthoughts. They get duped by headlines that don’t deliver and distracted by pop-up nonsense or unworthy clicks. Many now make money selling fake headlines, fake controversies and even fake news. We are engineering Axios around a simple proposition: Deliver the cleanest, smartest, most efficient and trustworthy experience for readers and advertisers alike.”
What we’re admiring…
Female Founder Office Hours
Last week, Pitchbook published a new report about that mapped investment in female-founded companies across 10 key US metros. The takeaway:
“In 2017, US-based female-founded startups raised $10.5 billion in venture capital funding, up from $6.7 billion in 2016 and $4 billion in 2012. At first glance, those numbers may seem like huge wins for women, but juxtaposed with the yearly increases in overall VC investment, there’s no consistent gain [year over year]. Female-founded companies did pull in the largest percentage of overall VC in 2017 since the start of the decade — but only by 1%.”
In light of this report and the dozens like it, we’re admiring Rebecca Kaden, Parter at Union Square Ventures, and daynagrayson, Partner at New Enterprise Associates, this month. The investors are playing a lead role in the New York expansion of Female Founder Office Hours, joined by a number of female VCs who are determined to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs.
As we continue to move forward with our own initiatives to support diversity and inclusion, we’re grateful for groups like Female Founder Office Hours for the work they’re doing to change the ratio.
Female Founder Office Hours’ New York cohort, courtesy of @femalefounderofficehours.
Resource we love…
Every small young company knows that in order to stay lean, you need to be on the hunt for user-friendly tools and skill-set hacks that can push your business forward. That’s why we love Canva: Australia’s first company to reach “unicorn” status in 2018 after raising $40 million (AUD$50.9 million) to push their value beyond $1 billion. (Its co-founder and CEO, Melanie Perkins, has become the youngest female entrepreneur to achieve this milestone.)
Canva makes building websites simple with a drag-and-drop design tool and a library of stock photographs, graphic elements, and fonts. It is the perfect platform for non-designers to create beautifully branded event invites, marketing materials, social media and email headers, and more.
As a non-graphic designer myself, I’ve personally found Canva incredibly helpful in elevating the look and feel of the R/GA Ventures brand in all of our outreach materials. And I’m not the only one: Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO of iFundWomen, named it her #1 invaluable resource when she spoke on our Women in Tech Panel last fall.
Article Prepared by Ollala Corp