TLDR Founders 2024-03-29

Amazon’s $4B Anthropic Investment 💰, Brex: From Zero to $12B 💳, Planning for Success ✨

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Headlines & Trends

Amazon Invests $4B in Anthropic (2 minute read)

Amazon has completed a $4 billion investment in AI research company Anthropic, which is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its primary cloud provider for critical workloads. This investment is part of a strategic collaboration that will provide AWS customers with access to advanced generative AI technologies, including Anthropic's Claude AI models, through Amazon Bedrock, a service offering managed foundation models and tools for building AI applications.

10 Charts That Capture How the World Is Changing (14 minute read)

This article presents a collection of charts that illustrate various global trends, including the rapid advancement of AI, the environmental impact of fast fashion, the importance of viral growth for businesses, the high cost of healthcare in the US, the decline in church attendance, the rise of dopamine culture, the increase in electric vehicle sales, the intersection of AI and gaming, and the growth of self-employment. These charts offer insights into the ways the world is evolving and provide a visual representation of key trends shaping our society.

How Brex Went From Zero to a $12.3B Company (8 minute read)

Brex, a financial services company founded by Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, rapidly grew to a valuation of $12.3 billion in 6 years by focusing on providing corporate credit cards to startups, optimizing for user acquisition and retention, and expanding its product suite to include cash management, expense tracking, and venture debt. The company successfully navigated challenges by pivoting from serving SMBs to doubling down on startups and venture-backed businesses. It played a crucial role in supporting the startup ecosystem during the Silicon Valley Bank crisis.
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Strategies & Tactics

Building Companies on Campus (7 minute read)

This article shares the unique challenges and opportunities faced by student founders, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right co-founder based on trust, solving problems they are passionate about, and leveraging their position as students to access resources and networks.

What to Expect with Dilution (4 minute read)

This article discusses the dilution founders face when raising capital through various funding rounds, using data from over 43,000 US companies on the Carta platform. The standard advice of selling 20% in early-stage rounds remains. Founders have been selling less of their companies over the past four years. Challenges like bridge financings and investor-friendly deal terms can significantly increase dilution.

Don’t Take Free Cash Flow at Face Value (6 minute read)

It is important to scrutinize the underlying factors of free cash flow (FCF) margins in software companies. Founders should be wary of taking headline FCF numbers at face value due to the potential for non-structural factors to temporarily inflate these figures. A deeper analysis of FCF components, such as stock-based compensation and changes in net working capital, can help you understand a company's true profitability and the sustainability of its FCF improvements.
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Tools & Resources

YouTube Investment Memo (Document)

Sequoia’s investment memo on YouTube from 2005.

Julius (Website)

Analyze your data with computational AI.

Storytale 3 (Website)

7,200+ graphic assets for your design projects.
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Miscellaneous

How to Plan for Success (37 minute audio)

Mohit Aron, a successful two-time founder, shares his essential blueprints and checklists for startup success, emphasizing the importance of a solid foundation, a product that addresses customer pain points with a significant market, and a clear execution plan. He also outlines a hiring strategy for non-technical roles that involves a thorough three-phase checklist to ensure candidates align with the company's culture and possess a proven track record.

Find the Savages: Uncovering Hidden Early-Career Talent (6 minute read)

This article discusses the evolving landscape of college graduate recruitment, highlighting a shift from traditional "target" schools to a broader, more inclusive approach that values diverse backgrounds and experiences. It suggests hiring from "non-target" schools, where students demonstrate greater drive, humility, and willingness to learn. Companies should expand their recruitment strategies to uncover hidden talent.

The AI SDR Era (10 minute read)

11x.ai, a London-based AI startup, achieved remarkable growth from $0 to $2 million ARR in just six months by leveraging its AI-powered digital SDR, Alice, to automate outbound prospecting and generate significant sales leads. The company's success is attributed to its innovative approach of targeting hiring budgets with a hard ROI value proposition, embracing high velocity in operations, and focusing on a technical edge to deliver more value than traditional methods.
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Quick Links

The Confidence Game (2 minute read)

Confidence, or the lack thereof, can significantly impact one's ability to make decisions effectively and efficiently.

Selling AI: Category Creation of a Different Flavor (2 minute read)

This article discusses the shift in software sales towards AI agents, emphasizing the need for sellers and startups to reimagine their roles and create new categories.

The #1 Thing To Do When Times Are Harder (1 minute read)

Businesses should focus on taking it a quarter at a time - setting and surpassing micro-milestones fosters growth and resilience.
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