Tag Archive | "Startups"

Brex Raises $57 Million to Launch New Credit Card for Startups

American fintech company Brex has just launched a new corporate credit card designed specifically to assist startups.

The news of this unique credit card also comes on the heels of Brex’s recently concluded Series B funding round. The company was able to raise $ 57 million courtesy of investors like PayPal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, Facebook’s Yuri Milner, VC Ribbit Capital, and the Y Combinator Continuity.

Brex is the brainchild of young engineers cum entrepreneurs Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franchesci. The two are known for founding Pagar.me, a Brazilian payments processor, when they were still in their teens.

Brex wants to rebuild B2B financial products, and one key step to doing that is to start with a corporate credit card service. The company provides tech startups and various companies with instant approval of credit cards. What’s more, these have higher than expected credit limits and users don’t require any kind of personal guarantees.

The San Francisco-based company basically underwrites businesses and foregoes credit history in lieu of factors like its investors and the equity the company holds, its cash balance and spending habits. Brex offers the first five cards of the startup free of charge. Any additional cards after that will cost $ 5 monthly.

Brex credit cards offer several distinct features, like the capacity to capture receipts using your smart device and matching them to the card holder’s credit statement. The card can also be integrated with accounting software like Expensify, NetSuite, and QuickBooks.

Dubugras and Franchesci reportedly spent the previous year talking with customers about developing a product that could successfully navigate the regulatory and financial challenges that usually prevent early-stage startups from getting credit card approval.

According to Brex CEO Dubugras, “startups that have raised millions and are poised for hyper-growth can’t get slowed down hassling with banks requiring personal guarantees and offering meager credit limits.”

Unfortunately, traditional credit models look at how much a company can pay back annually based on revenue. This practice automatically disqualifies startups. But Brex has gotten around that problem by focusing on the cash that the investors have given the startup.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

The post Brex Raises $ 57 Million to Launch New Credit Card for Startups appeared first on WebProNews.


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Creating And Pitching A Product At Startup Weekend, Investing In Startups Via Angel List, And How To Gain Exposure For A New Project

In this week’s podcast episode on the Walter and Yaro show (still yet to be named!) we review Walter’s hectic weekend putting in long hours at a startup event. He was part of a team that came third in a competition to create a new product, pitch it and even…

The post Creating And Pitching A Product At Startup Weekend, Investing In Startups Via Angel List, And How To Gain Exposure For A New Project appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Search Engine Optimization Using The Long Tail, The Ultradian Rhythm For Productivity And The One Thing Startups Should Focus On

Welcome to the first episode of Everything Entrepreneurship with Walter and Yaro for 2014. This is episode #13, which felt a bit like a new years hangover episode. [ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] We recorded this podcast at 10:30PM local time Monday night, after Walter had his first full day at the…

The post Search Engine Optimization Using The Long Tail, The Ultradian Rhythm For Productivity And The One Thing Startups Should Focus On appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Where & How do Top Startups Get Their Links?

Posted by dohertyjf

[Estimated read time: 7 minutes]

As a startup founder myself, it feels weird to talk about startups through the lens of backlinks. After all, there are so many other things to worry about — how’s my cash flow? Are my employees getting paid? How does the deal flow look? Are we going to hit our targets for this month/quarter? Why is the website/app so slow? Did that vendor pay us that huge amount they owe?

What if I told you that I’ve seen (and helped) companies land funding off the back of solid SEO practices, including link acquisition and content creation? By integrating SEO into PR, outreach, and content initiatives, one specific startup has gone on to do great things.

different quote.png

Startups need to care about marketing

Startups should care about marketing, too. While the SF Bay Area, where I live, is all aflutter over “growth hacking” and some well-known investors are telling startups to not focus on marketing, I tend to disagree with them. (Of course, I’m a marketer!)

Whether or not startups should be doing PR and paid acquisition (I’d argue they should be doing a bit of both), SEO is beautiful in that it sits across or is in constant discussion with a lot of the “marketing” activities — PR, content, email, paid. Want to grow your company and get feedback on your new product faster? You need to be thinking about SEO.

A holistic marketing process

But as we all know, the different marketing channels all work together to help with SEO. Gone are the days of putting content online and predicting where it will rank and for which keywords. Your PR efforts can be very effective in building links for SEO as well as driving referral traffic back to your site, increasing those ever-important signups or purchases. As a startup, showing traction can help you get more mentions from sites that help with VC deal intelligence — sites like Mattermark, Tracxn.com, and Pitchbook. And getting mentioned on these sites can drive more mentions, which build links and drive referral traffic. It’s a virtuous cycle!

Because I’m very interested in how startups get traction and build their companies, I wanted to look at where the top 100 startups, according to Pitchbook’s valuation metric (thanks to Rob Toledo for the data), get links from.

My hope for this post is twofold. First, to educate you about how startups build links these days, and second, to show startups where they should be looking to get links. Of course, I’d be remiss to not also point out that you don’t just want to copy what your competitors are doing. Think about the mentions that will actually get you in front of your target audience. We all want to be written up in Techcrunch, but unless your true customers are VCs or other startups, you likely won’t see a bump from this (though you should retarget all of these visitors and try to get their emails so you can qualify them through your marketing funnel).

Ok, with all of that out of the way, let’s begin!

Who are the top startups?

It’s not necessary to list all of the startups I pulled the linking domains for, simply because the list would be long and that’s not what this post is about. The criteria that we used to pull the startups was fairly simple. I didn’t want the huge ones that everyone’s heard of (e.g. Uber), but I wanted startups that have shown some traction and were able to close a round of funding. The criteria were:

  • The top 100 Angel–Series B companies…
  • Sorted by valuation…
  • That have raised financing from January 1st 2014–present.

This way, we get current companies that are assumedly still alive and building. This includes companies like Porch.com, Tilt.com, ZipRecruiter, Tune, and Mapbox.

Enough already. Give me the links!

Patience, my friend! Here are the top 55 domains that appear most often within the backlink reports (pulled from Open Site Explorer, of course) of the top 100 startups:

Domain

# of Appearances

techcrunch.com/

56

blogspot.com/

42

xconomy.com/

41

prnewswire.com/

40

vator.tv/

40

businessinsider.com/

38

constantcontact.com/

33

pinterest.com/

33

thenextweb.com/

32

medium.com/

31

huffingtonpost.com/

29

mashable.com/

29

wordpress.com/

29

youtube.com/

29

entrepreneur.com/

28

tumblr.com/

28

businessinsider.com.au/

27

meetup.com/

26

pivotl.com

26

weebly.com/

26

fortune.com/

25

inc.com/

25

github.io/

24

yahoo.com/

24

examiner.com/

23

flavors.me/

23

prlog.ru/

23

reddit.com/

23

wsj.com/

23

zdnet.com/

23

buzzfeed.com/

22

eventbrite.com/

22

internetdealbook.com/

22

prweb.net/

22

wired.com/

22

fastcompany.com/

21

tinyletter.com/

21

virtual-strategy.com/

21

allmyfaves.com/

20

itjuzi.com/

20

marketwired.com/

20

stackshare.io/

20

businessinsider.co.id/

19

whogotfunded.com/

19

wmtips.com/

19

hubspot.com/

18

recode.net/

18

socialmediatoday.com/

18

stackoverflow.com/

18

techcrunch.cn/

18

time.com/

18

tracxn.com/

18

trendhunter.com/

18

brit.co/

17

cnbc.com/

17

You’ve probably heard of many of these sites, as they tend to be the ones that a lot of us in the technology world read (for better or for worse).

I was then curious about the type of links these are. So, I went through and categorized them accordingly. Remember, there are 55 unique domains here so this isn’t quite representative of all of their links, but if you’re looking to build a bed of links for your company this should give you an idea of the channels that work:

As you can tell, by far the most common are from PR, then placed by the startup themselves on their profiles around the web (think Crunchbase), then links that are editorially given. Interestingly, we also see that email providers that by default make the emails sent public (like MailChimp) get crawled and the links counted.

How “normal” are their backlink profiles?

The next question I asked myself was how natural-looking their backlink profiles are. To do this, I graphed the Domain Authorities of all the domains pulled from OSE as linking to these sites. To make it as accurate as possible, I de-duplicated the domains before making this graph.

For many of us who have been in the SEO world for years, this graph should look pretty familiar. Years ago, we would often talk about natural link profiles and point out how many sites who hadn’t engaged in active link building, targeting sites with high Domain Authority, would often see a left-leaning bell curve. This is exactly what we see above. Basically, the reason we expect to see this is that Domain Authority works on an exponential scale. It’s quite easy to go from 0 to 20, but then becomes progressively harder to move that needle. It works a lot like PageRank in that way. So, there are a lot of sites online with a DA under 30–35 and not as many above.

I’ll be honest though when I say that it’s been quite a while since I looked at the link graphs of many sites. So let’s compare the above to a few other sites that have some links. Remember, we’re just looking for directional patterns, not prescriptions.

My personal site, johnfdoherty.com

Uber’s corporate site, uber.com

Techcrunch.com

As you can see, the overall link spread of the top 100 startups is pretty in line with what one could consider “normal.” I’m sure you can find anomalies at an individual site level, but at a 10,000-foot view, they’re natural. This is important because it means that at least most of these startups are not actively manipulating the link graph in a way that could hurt them in the future. Basically, don’t pull a Thumbtack.

Do links vary by stage of company?

The final question I had was how each startup’s site varies with domain authority and number of linking root domains by stage of company (seed, Series A, Series B). Intuition tells me that the further along the company is, the more links it will have and the stronger their site will be. But is this what the data tell us?

To get this data, I used the Moz API to pull the metrics via a Google doc cobbled together from many places. The final working one was sent to me by Tim Allen at Distilled London. Thanks man. I pulled the Series level (Angel, Series A, Series B) from Mattermark’s company profile pages. I had to remove two companies, one Series A and one Funding Unknown, because OSE had no link metrics.

Here are the average number of links (not linking root domains) by Funding Series.

This chart is a bit misleading, however, because one Series A company (Crowdrise) and one Series B company (Porch) have exponentially more links than the other sites in the dataset. Porch has, according to Moz, 142k external links, while Crowdrise has 40k. The next highest is Canva at 18.5k, and the average across all the rest after Porch and Crowdrise is 1,695.

When we remove Porch and Crowdrise from the dataset as outliers, we get a much clearer view of the landscape. Series A companies still have more links on average than Series B or C, which may be explained by the increasing proliferation of tech blogs and the recent funding boom that that occurred in 2013–2015 (which now seems to be cooling). Here’s the look:

Takeaways

So what can we take away from all of this? First of all, let’s all remember that links are a lagging indicator of success, but they can also to some degree tell us who’s popular. And of course, the more quality and high-authority links you have, the better you will rank.

Second, remember the first graph. The ways that the top startups build links are via:

  1. PR
  2. Placed links (profiles, etc.)
  3. Editorial
  4. Blogs

It seems that social bookmarking is dead as a linkbuilding tactic for startups. I’m heartened by this, as it seems that startups focus (as they should) on links from places that will also drive them traffic. If you’re looking for inspiration and more tactics around how to build links, I definitely recommend checking out the Link Building category of the Moz blog.

What takeaways or further questions do you have?

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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Creating And Pitching A Product At Startup Weekend, Investing In Startups Via Angel List, And How To Gain Exposure For A New Project

In this week’s podcast episode on the Walter and Yaro show (still yet to be named!) we review Walter’s hectic weekend putting in long hours at a startup event. He was part of a team that came third in a competition to create a new product, pitch it and even…

The post Creating And Pitching A Product At Startup Weekend, Investing In Startups Via Angel List, And How To Gain Exposure For A New Project appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

Guys this one got real. I honestly think this keynote in Philly set the benchmark for my new generation of talks. Check it out and let me know what you think…

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Value Proposition for Startups: 3 questions every startup must have the courage to answer

When creating a value proposition, especially for a startup company, sometimes it’s more important to ask the negative questions and define what you are not, rather than defining what you are.

This MarketingSherpa Blog post covers three “no’s” startups should have the courage to say.
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Search Engine Optimization Using The Long Tail, The Ultradian Rhythm For Productivity And The One Thing Startups Should Focus On

Welcome to the first episode of Everything Entrepreneurship with Walter and Yaro for 2014. This is episode #13, which felt a bit like a new years hangover episode. [ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] We recorded this podcast at 10:30PM local time Monday night, after Walter had his first full day at the…

The post Search Engine Optimization Using The Long Tail, The Ultradian Rhythm For Productivity And The One Thing Startups Should Focus On appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Should Venture Backed Startups Engage in Spammy SEO?

Here’s a recent video of the founders of RapGenius talking at TechCrunch disrupt.

Oops, wrong video. Here’s the right one. Same difference.

Recently a thread on Hacker News highlighted a blog post which pointed how RapGenius was engaging in reciprocal promotional arrangements where they would promote blogs on their Facebook or Twitter accounts if those bloggers would post a laundry list of keyword rich deeplinks at RapGenius.

Matt Cutts quickly chimed in on Hacker News “we’re investigating this now.”

A friend of mine and I were chatting yesterday about what would happen. My prediction was that absolutely nothing would happen to RapGenius, they would issue a faux apology, they would put no effort into cleaning up the existing links, and the apology alone would be sufficient evidence of good faith that the issue dies there.

Today RapGenius published a mea culpa where ultimately they defended their own spam by complaining about how spammy other lyrics websites are. The self-serving jackasses went so far as including this in their post: “With limited tools (Open Site Explorer), we found some suspicious backlinks to some of our competitors”

It’s one thing to in private complain about dealing in a frustrating area, but it’s another thing to publicly throw your direct competitors under the bus with a table of link types and paint them as being black hat spammers.

Google can’t afford to penalize Rap Genius, because if they do Google Ventures will lose deal flow on the start ups Google co-invests in.

In the past some of Google’s other investments were into companies that were pretty overtly spamming. RetailMeNot held multiple giveaways where if you embedded a spammy sidebar set of deeplinks to their various pages they gave you a free t-shirt:

Google’s behavior on such arrangements has usually been to hit the smaller players while looking the other way on the bigger site on the other end of the transaction.

That free t-shirt for links post was from 2010 – the same year that Google invested in RetailMeNot. They did those promotions multiple times & long enough that they ran out of t-shirts!. Now that RTM is a publicly traded billion Dollar company which Google already endorsed by investing in, there’s a zero percent chance of them getting penalized.

To recap, if you are VC-backed you can: spam away, wait until you are outed, when outed reply with a combined “we didn’t know” and a “our competitors are spammers” deflective response.

For the sake of clarity, let’s compare that string of events (spam, warning but no penalty, no effort needed to clean up, insincere mea culpa) to how a websites are treated when not VC backed. For smaller sites it is “shoot on sight” first and then ask questions later, perhaps coupled with a friendly recommendation to start over.

Here’s a post from today highlighting a quote from Google’s John Mueller:

My personal & direct recommendation here would be to treat this site as a learning experience from a technical point of view, and then to find something that you’re absolutely passionate & knowledgeable about and create a website for that instead.

Growth hack inbound content marketing, but just don’t call it SEO.

What’s worse, is with the new fearmongering disavow promotional stuff, not only are some folks being penalized for the efforts of others, but some are being penalized for links that were in place BEFORE Google even launched as a company.

Given that money allegedly shouldn’t impact rankings, its sad to note that as everything that is effective gets labeled as spam, capital and connections are the key SEO innovations in the current Google ecosystem.

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Creating And Pitching A Product At Startup Weekend, Investing In Startups Via Angel List, And How To Gain Exposure For A New Project

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In this week’s podcast episode on the Walter and Yaro show (still yet to be named!) we review Walter’s hectic weekend putting in long hours at a startup event. He was part of a team that came third in a competition to create a new product, pitch it and even find customers for it, … Read the rest of this entry »

The post Creating And Pitching A Product At Startup Weekend, Investing In Startups Via Angel List, And How To Gain Exposure For A New Project appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Bing Reveals Fist Bing Fund Startups

Bing unveiled the Bing Fund last month, describing it as an angel investor with an incubator, “working with hot startups to innovate online.”

Bing announced today the first two startups it has been working with: Buddy and Pinion. The former, based in Kirkland, Washington, provides hosted and managed web services for application development. The latter is located in Bellevue, and aims to help gaming communities generate revenue through targeted advertising.

“The Buddy Platform considerably reduces the amount of time mobile and web application developers spend writing, testing, and managing server-side code,” The Bing Fund team says in a blog post. “Its cross-platform APIs support common scenarios such as user accounts, friends and group lists, messaging and chat, geo-location services, photo albums, metadata, gaming, push notifications and crash reporting.”

“Pinion is doing some great work with Valve and their Steam platform,” says Bing Fund GM Rahul Sood. “I have been a Steam user since, like, forever. I have been playing Counter-Strike and Half-Life since they first came out — so I spent a good amount of time studying how Pinion community servers work. Pinion is actually working on ways to improve tàe gaming experience, for example by offering up free gaming servers to communities.”

“I love these kinds of crazy ideas,” he adds.

Sood says Bing Fund is working hard to find its next startup, and apologizes to startups who have not heard back yet, saying that they have had a lot of submissions.

Image: Pinion Team


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