💰 Top 4 Curated VC Picks + Must-Read Top 3 Books for 13Sept2023
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By B Bickham profile image B Bickham
4 min read

💰 Top 4 Curated VC Picks + Must-Read Top 3 Books for 13Sept2023

🗒️ Saudi Arabia Is Pouring Money in Sports. Is Tennis Next? The New York Times: The U.S. Open has been as gripping as ever this year, with the 19-year-old breakout star Coco Gauff set to face off against Aryna Sabalenka in today’s singles final and Novak Djokovic seeking a

🗒️ Saudi Arabia Is Pouring Money in Sports. Is Tennis Next?

Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash

The New York Times: The U.S. Open has been as gripping as ever this year, with the 19-year-old breakout star Coco Gauff set to face off against Aryna Sabalenka in today’s singles final and Novak Djokovic seeking a 24th Grand Slam win tomorrow. But as a business, tennis has been struggling for years — and faces new pressure to find a sustainable model as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, known as P.I.F., has made major investments in sports, sloshing money around in golf, soccer and mixed martial arts.

Some deal makers wonder whether tennis, which has already confirmed initial talks with Saudi Arabia, will be the fund’s next target.

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🗒️ Venture capital vs. Y Combinator valuations (again)

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Axios: Venture capitalists complaining about Y Combinator startup valuations being too high is a time-honored tradition. Now they're blaming it on a change the accelerator introduced in early 2022.

Why it matters: Y Combinator remains one of the most successful and powerful startup organizations and backers in the world.

Flashback: In January 2022, YC announced that in addition to investing $125,000 for a 7% stake, it would also invest $375,000 in a separate simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) note at an uncapped valuation that includes a Most Favored Nation (MFN) clause.

That means YC will get the most favorable terms a startup gives any other investor in the round.

Between the lines: This creates a new dilemma for founders: Either seek to raise cash at a (relatively) high valuation, or give up more of their ownership in the company (also known as dilution).

And why that matters: Asking for a high valuation is fine for the "hot" startups that have their pick of investors, but it makes things harder for those that aren't the belle of the ball.


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🗒️ Where People Go Wrong with Minimum Viable Products

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Human-Centered Change and Innovation: Ever since Eric Reis published his bestselling book, The Lean Startup, the idea of a minimum viable product (MVP) has captured the imagination of entrepreneurs and product developers everywhere. The idea of testing products faster and cheaper has an intuitive logic that simply can’t be denied.

Yet what is often missed is that a minimum viable product isn’t merely a stripped down version of a prototype. It is a method to test assumptions and that’s something very different. A single product often has multiple MVPs, because any product development effort is based on multiple assumptions.

Developing an MVP isn’t just about moving faster and cheaper, but also minimizing risk. In order to test assumptions, you first need to identify them and that’s a soul searching process. You have to take a hard look at what you believe, why you believe it and how those ideas can be evaluated. Essentially, MVP’s work because they force you to do the hard thinking early.

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🗒️ Big tech isn’t shelling out for acquisitions like it used to

CBInsights: The economic and regulatory climate has brought big tech M&A activity to a near halt, with acquisitions reaching an 18-quarter low in Q2’23.

Big tech mostly shied away from M&A in Q2’23.

Historically, big tech players have snapped up startups to acquire tech talent and expand into new markets and product lines. However, they face a more challenging regulatory climate — especially in the US and Europe, where anti-trust pressure has been mounting.

Combined with the prevailing risk-off mentality of strategic acquirers, this has led to a drastic decline in big tech acquisitions. Between Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and NVIDIA, only Apple disclosed an acquisition in Q2, according to the CB Insights Tech M&A Q2’23 Report.

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Top 3 book summaries this week 📚

The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino
How do you become the greatest salesperson in the world? Learn the ten lessons you need to learn to get there. Although it was written in 1968, all of the advice in it is timeless. In fact, if you've spent some time reading books in the personal development realm over the past 10 years, you'll notice a lot of the themes Mandino touches on being re-introduced in a scientific manner.

Willpower by Roy Baumeister
Many scientists believe that there are only two things worth studying so that mankind could improve its col-lective well-being: intelligence and willpower. Until recently, it was believed that there was nothing you could do to improve either one. However, in this remarkable book, this myth is exploded. If you are able to apply the principles you learn here, you might lit-erally be able to transform the trajectory of your life.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Along with How To Win Friends and Influence People (which was published a year earlier by Dale Carne-gie), it became one of the first best-selling personal development books. To date it has sold over 100 million copies, and is widely considered to be one of the best personal development books ever published. Let's dive in to the 14 principles that Hill tells us we need to learn if we want to be rich.

By B Bickham profile image B Bickham
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