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Passport Weekly: Would You be Happy if Your Startup Scored an $8B Valuation?

 
26th October 2019

Written by GSVlabs Startup Director & Product Manager, Slater McLean

The Passport weekly is a hand-curated newsletter compiled weekly to bring you the best accounts of entrepreneurship and insights from the startup ecosystem. If you enjoy what you read here, please consider forwarding it to spread the word. Not getting the Passport weekly regularly? Subscribe above! 

Would you be happy if your startup scored an $8B valuation?

Not if you’re Adam Neumann... As I'm sure you've heard, WeWork's valuation has imploded over the last couple of months, dropping to a measly $8B from a high of $47B. Essentially, this means any investor that invested post-2014 is now at a loss. Do you know who's not taking a loss? Adam. The now-defunct CEO is getting nearly $1.7B after miss-managing the once-fabled unicorn. So maybe he is happy.

So, what are we to think of the WeWork story? Some say it's a cautionary tale of over-inflated valuations. Some say it's a lesson in pursuing growth at all costs. I think it's an over-idealization of founders. Investors were betting on a guy that seemed larger than life just as much as they were betting on the business, and it bit them in the ass. I mean is it that hard to build a grossly unprofitable office space leasing company when you essentially have a bottomless pit of money? Scroll to see WeWorks Biggest Losers.

Brianne Kimmel on building the future of work place

In the early days of the company, things will come easy It feels a lot like building a consumer product, but maybe better (early users pay $) Keep in mind: these users are the easiest to acquire
Selling to other startups is a great strategy, but that well easily dries upStartups churn at a higher rate & have a lower expansion rate.
Learn more about the challenges of a purely self-serve Click to read more >>>

What the Lean Startup Method Gets Right and Wrong

When someone finds out that I am an entrepreneurship professor, they tend to either ask me to listen to their startup pitch or else they look at me quizzically and say: “But I thought entrepreneurship was all about improvisation. How can you teach entrepreneurship?” As a result, I have heard a lot of startup pitches (last year was blockchain; this year was CBD) but I also have thought about how to answer the bigger question: what can we teach founders to make their startups more successful? Fortunately, the last decade has given me a lot of valuable lessons I can share, and these lessons come from two different sources. Click to read more >>>

Don’t Serve Burnt Pizza (And Other Lessons in Building Minimum Lovable Products)

If love is in the little things, then Jiaona “JZ” Zhang has a keen eye for the details that make users fall head over heels.

From her first PM role at Pocket Gems, where she crafted mobile gaming features that kept players logging in for more, to her time at Dropbox, where her instinct for zooming in on user problems led to the creation of some of the company’s standout UI interactions, Zhang’s built an impressive career centered on spotting just the right touch that captivates and inspires users. Click to read more >>>

Why Mindfulness Matters for Entrepreneurs

Take a big, deep breath. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. As you continue breathing deeply, check in with your body from head to toe. Feel the sensations in your head, neck and shoulders, then sweep down to your legs, knees, ankles and feet. Notice the feeling of each breath as it moves in through your nostrils and out past your lips.

You’re now in the present moment. Staying engaged with what’s happening, right here and now, is the key to finding greater inspiration, accessing your creativity and living a more meaningful, fulfilling life. Click to read more >>>

WeWork’s Biggest Losers—and Remaining Winners (Paywall)

SoftBank has given WeWork a new lease on life. But some of the company’s biggest shareholders, including Hony Capital, Fidelity and thousands of employees—as well as SoftBank itself—are now in the red.

WeWork’s new valuation of $11.60 a share is below what was paid by every outside investor who put money into WeWork since the start of 2014, and wipes out the value of stock options given to employees who joined in the last few years. The biggest loser is SoftBank and its Vision Fund, which after the forthcoming investment will have pumped $10.3 billion of equity capital into WeWork—more than the entire company is now worth. Click to read more >>>

New Tools on Passport

Emburse: Credit Cards With Auto Enforcing Spending Rules
Full Scope Web: Modern website design & development for startups.
Bloomx: Digital marketing services - outreach, inbound, social media and paid Ads.

New Mentors on Passport

Ignacio Castro: Managing Director, Founder Institute Boston
Stamatis Astra: Venture Partner, Innovation Manufacturing Ventures
Tyler Beaty: Creative Director, Afterhours

New Mentors on Passport

GSVlabs Open House - Come check our Silicon Valley innovation center and work here for the day, then stay past for happy hour and our corporate innovation disrupted event series!

Corporate Innovation Disrupted: The Future of Financial Services - The Future of Financial Services: Join us to learn and share best practices, megatrends, networking, and more

Happy Hour with Joe Coughlin: Stories of People & Personal Investing- Join us for drinks and a talk with Joe Coughlin, CEO of Corporate Risk Solutions (CRS) & long-time investor.

Innovations in Corporate Social Impact - Start-ups, Risk-Taking & Profitable Social Impact