Twilio: Fueling Up for Growth

Twilio has been growing rapidly in the US and they recently launched in the UK for voice with text coming soon.  In addition to geographic expansion, Twilio has also been adding awesome new services such as Twilio Client and Twilio Connect.  We are excited to be supporting Team Twilio together with the fine folks from Bessemer with a $17 million Series C financing.  Congrats to the entire team on a fantastic year!

When Mr. Lau and his business partner Ivan Yuen launched Wattpad in 2006, the world wasn’t quite ready for an e-book platform where aspiring authors could write short stories, poems and fan fiction and publish them to the Web so that other users could read their creations on their PC or their cellphone.

Fast forward to the summer of 2011 and the site has registered more than one million authors and even led to several writers landing book deals with major publishers, thanks in large part to the rise of smartphones and tablets which have helped reinvigorate interest in the e-publishing business.

VC Democratization and Baseball Franchises

In my post yesterday, I talked about how I use Nate Westheimer’s Ohours in order to meet with numerous VCs, entrepreneurs, and others in the tech community. Many entrepreneurs use these opportunities in order to pitch their ideas to investors who happen to be hosting Ohours. For example, the partners at Union Square Ventures periodically host office hours, and Fred Wilson has blogged about the overwhelming benefits of Ohours to entrepreneurs in that it is unlikely that these founders would get a meeting with USV otherwise. This notion substantiates Steve Blank’s recent idea regarding the democratization of entrepreneurship such that the barriers to starting a venture are becoming substantially lower. More and more people can start a company, and services like Ohours allow entrepreneurs to meet with prominent, hard-to-reach people to raise venture funding. And this change is great for a hopeful startup, but what about the democratization of venture capital? What about the up-and-coming VC firm? I contend that just as a nascent company can make it big, an unheralded VC can do the same. But how?

Well, sites like Ohours certainly help. While USV and other major firms don’t need to host office hours to find deals, a young VC firm could potentially find a diamond in the rough by hosting Ohours. And all it takes (granted easier said than done) is finding that homerun exit that puts the firm on the map and makes it the “go-to” investor for the next wave of entrepreneurs. Additionally, a company similar to Ohours called allows people to meet each other over food. Perhaps most importantly, simply hustling by being active on Twitter and attending Meetups will help rising VC firms discover blossoming startups before their more established competitors swoop in with a term sheet. 

While thinking about this theory, I quickly realized that it is rather similar to how small market baseball teams with small payrolls must compete with large market teams for which money is no object. The ownership and management of the franchise (GPs at the firm) try to make smart draft picks and other strategic moves that are going to pan out (investing in startups), which will ultimately lead the team to a title. Meanwhile, top franchises with lots of money to spend don’t have to woo players to come to them - the players (startups) want to play for them already (become part of the VC’s portfolio). However, while there appear to be haves and have-nots in the sports world, we have seen time and time again small market franchises like the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers make a run at a championship competing against the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees. I firmly believe that this model can and will be replicated over the next few years in the VC industry as both entrepreneurship and venture capital simultaneously undergo a process of democratization.

When human beings acquired language, we learned not just how to listen but how to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned not just how to read but how to write. And as we move into an increasingly digital reality, we must learn not just how to use programs but how to make them. In the emerging, highly programmed landscape ahead, you will either create the software or you will be the software. It’s really that simple: Program, or be programmed.

Just finished the Ugly Sweater Verse and marathon read it for two days.

Best piece of fucking fan fiction I’ve ever read. Totally worth the 502 pages. 

I’ve always wanted to read a romance story like this, where it really went into detail about day to day stuff. It feels pretty damn close to how I think Dean and Cas would end up after getting together and not having hunting being such a huge priority. 

It’s just so fucking perfect. It’s a piece of work I’ll probably read as many times as I’ve read the HP series.

It started out achingly slow sexual wise, but it was so fucking worth it and made so much sense with the characters. Seemed more of a correct estimation to an extent and just made the final coupling just so achingly perfect. 

Loved the romance bits to pieces. I loved the slow transition from infrequent kisses to rough hickey making and back clawing sex. Just….SO PERFECT I CANNOT EVEN. 

This is definitely going to be one of my favorite “books” of all time. 

Learn to Design for 3D Printing in NYC

If you want to learn how to get started designing for 3D printing we are running an introductory class in New York City on Thursday the 14th of February, 2013.  The class is suitable for anyone, of any age who is interested in getting started 3D printing.

The Intro to Design for 3D Printing class will cover the basic principles behind design for 3D printing, the free tools available to get started and the materials and processes used to make your ideas real.  Bring your Mac or PC laptop your charger, and an external mouse and create an account on Shapeways prior to the event and download free 3D modeling software 123D Design from Autodesk prior to the class so we can run through some of the basic tools, and maybe even design a little something. 

Sign up via Skillshare and be sure to bring your laptop and mouse.