No Longer Overlooked - Issue 25 | Let's Hug 🤗

POV: You're a founder building a startup

Hi there 👋 Welcome to No Longer Overlooked, a newsletter, curated by me, Janine Sickmeyer, a tech founder turned investor. Follow me as I share startup tips, industry news, founders you should know, and investors putting their money where their mouth is.

What's In This Issue 🗞

A brief look into what you'll be reading about

  • Reconnecting with old friends

  • Opportunities & advice for founders

  • Founders to keep track of

  • A podcast on building in public

What's On My Mind 💭

I’ve been thinking…

You know those conversations that feel like a hug? Have more of those.

This week I connected with a friend whom I haven't seen in two years. He and I have known each other since the start of my founder journey. We sat next to each other in the coffee shop every day building products, working through customer issues, and learning about acquisition channels. As the months turned to years, we both began to grow into our companies and built our own teams apart from each other but every few months we would meet up to discuss bigger work challenges and even personal hardships that only we could talk to each other about.

I realized this past year, that's what I was missing – true, real, honest, deep conversations beyond zoom and social media snippets.

We talked about the power of sitting with questions. And how it's OK to not be OK.

We talked about walking the tightrope of life in the present. Not to lean too far left into the past or too far right into the future or you'll miss what's happening right in front of you.

We laughed about our kids' wild imaginations.

And teared up when talking about broken friendships this past year.

We stumbled over words and forgot what we were saying. Because we are humans and not conditioned to speak like an encyclopedia.

And when we needed a moment to soak in the depth of the conversation... we took a deep breath.

Not everyone lets you be this kind of person so when you find them, don't let them go. These are the moments that make us who we are. Real, honest, emotional whole people.

We deserve to take up space.
And inhale gratitude and vulnerability.
And exhale uncertainty and shame.

For life is both as strong as a diamond and still as fragile as butterfly wings. 💎

What I’ve Been Working On 💁🏻‍♀️

Things I care about that I want to share

Overlooked Ventures Newsletter

Sign up to get monthly updates from Overlooked Ventures, where Brandon Brooks (co-founding partner of OV) and I share what we are up to. We'll talk about big wins, internal news, company asks, and other updates about OV Fund I. Get on the list.

Apply to Fund // Apply for Funding

Overlooked Ventures is raising for our debut fund! If you're interested in becoming an LP and being a part of our fund, express interest here.

Founders, we're so excited to start deploying capital in the coming months. Please apply to be considered for Overlooked Ventures Fund I using this link.

Top Secret Project

I need some founder beta testers for a top-secret project. I can't give too much away yet. Sign up here if you're interested, and I'll reach out with more details.

Recently Hit the Stands 📰

Things in the news you should check out

Why the Next Wave of Startups Will Be Community-Led

Being community first is the fastest way to go to market and start selling. If you have a community behind you, word of mouth will move faster than other forms of marketing. Clubhouse and Tiktok are great platforms for entrepreneurs to find their community, but not just because it might help them sell products. Founders can gain valuable insight and advice from fellow entrepreneurs, as well as connect with an audience.

Use TikTok Resumes to Land Your Next Job

TikTok is on its way to becoming a platform for recruitment and job discovery. This pilot program goes beyond funny short videos and is one of the first ways is expanding. Companies from a variety of industries are participating and actively seeking applicants from TikTok, including Abercrombie and Fitch, Chipotle, VaynerMedia, and so much more! All you have to do is search job openings, post a resume on TikTok, and submit your TikTok Resume. This is such a great way to show potential employers who you are - and if you're actively hiring - consider using TikTok Resumes!

Entrepreneur Phillip Michael and NYCE are closing the wealth gap for millennials of color

Wealth inequity is increasing, but Phillip Michael is working to close the gap through real estate. Phillip and NYCE are building a housing unit called TEMPLE 1 in Philadelphia’s growing ‘Philicon Valley and near Temple University's campus. TEMPLE 1 is a tech-powered living accelerator with 100-beds for students that helps foster innovation and provides real-life work experience. Phillip is using a crowdfunding model and encouraging millennials of color to participate.

What Inclusive Companies Have in Common

Harvard Business Review asked over 19,000 people about how diverse and inclusive their workplace is and rank its central cultural attributes. The difference between diverse and inclusive organizations from those that were not was a learning-oriented culture. This HBR article explores what a learning-oriented culture is, how it promotes diversity and inclusion, and how leaders can implement it at their company.

Wagmo raises $12.5 million to offer pet insurance

The pet care industry is growing and VC dollars are flowing into the space. Wagmo is a pet insurance and perks startup founded by Christie Horvath and Ali Foxworth and offers the same basic coverage as typical pet insurance, but also offers a wellness service that reimburses for the more basic things like vaccinations, grooming, regular vet visits, fecal tests, and bloodwork. The company just received $12.5 million Series A financing led by Revolution Ventures to expand, and part of that is selling enterprise plans to companies who can offer pet insurance in its benefits package.

A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦

Tweet of the week

Hot Take of the Week 🔥

Somebody had to say it

Walk the Walk 💰

Investors putting their money where their mouth is

  • Introducing the Belonging Fund

    Esther Crawford, the founder of Squad (acquired by Twitter) and now on the Twitter product team, is now angel investing through the Belonging Fund. Esther is $10k-$25k checks in early-stage startups that help people heal, connect, and prosper.

  • H Venture Partners Announces $10M Debut Venture Capital Fund

    H Venture Partners is a female-founded, owned, and controlled venture capital firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The firm was founded by Elizabeth Edwards, an experienced venture investor who has invested in brands like Peloton, Freshly, and more. The firm is focusing on supporting purpose-driven, science-based consumer brands.

  • MAGIC fund raises $30 million, to give $100- $300K cheques to founders in emerging markets

    A global collective of founders investing in other founders, MAGIC Fund just announced its second fund of $30 Million. They'll be backing early-stage startups with Fund II with a focus on companies that build infrastructure while delivering a quality customer experience, especially in emerging markets.

  • 1863 Ventures still has $5K grants available for Black and Latinx founders

    Just a heads up - 1863 has grants available to Black and Latinx founders. In a partnership with Capital One and the Rockefeller Foundation, 1863 Ventures began deploying capital into businesses to help during COVID-19.

  • Could Duolingo’s IPO Fuel Pittsburgh’s Startup Scene?

    Duolingo, home to midwest city Pittsburgh, is going public soon, and its upcoming IPO might mean more startup activity. The language learning platform raised $183 million, and their exit "will likely be invested in the homegrown startups being built there."

Founders You Should Follow 👀

Founders making moves

Diamond Hawkins, Pothos Beauty

Diamond Hawkins is the founder and CEO of Pothos Beauty, the first FULLY inclusive beauty retailer. This inclusive beauty and wellness marketplace is determined to change what beauty means and normalize diversity. Diamond is a Project Manager at Microsoft while also running her beauty startup AND she's a talented artist and painter. Diamond recently commissioned a piece for my home and it's beyond beautiful. Visit Pothos Beauty's site to shop their collections and products - and even pick up some merch!

Ezinne Iroanya-Adeoye, SKNMUSE

Founder of SKNMUSE, Ezinne is elevating the beauty experience for the modern black woman. SKNMUSE uses clean beauty practices of women in West Africa. Their luxury skincare caters to the body and the face with nutrients that protect, heal and maintain the skin and is sourced from shea is from West Africa, Nigeria. Ezinne believes that "Skin and Nature are the Muse for Total Body Care." Shop everything from body butter, body oil, candles, and nail care. Ezinne's energy and positivity is intoxicating - so be sure to follow her!

What Founders Need to Know 🤔

Advice and resources you didn't know you needed.

  • If you're looking for a business partner, use Y Combinator's free online platform to find a co-founder that matches your skills, preferences, location, and more.

  • Training your team the right way is critical for growing your bottom line. Here are four sales training strategy tips to help grow your business.

  • Keep your slice of the pie. If you're a startup founder raising capital, use this guide from Yin Wu to learn about how to handle your startup's equity.

  • Here's how you can use LinkedIn like Twitter and reach your goals. Justin Welsh lists out tips for using LinkedIn like nobody else.

  • Read this thread from Harold Hughes for advice on pitching your startup, from an investor who hears pitches every week and gives feedback.

  • Ever wondered how your startup is supposed to update investors? Hustle Fund created a template that any startup founder can replicate and personalize for their business!

  • A founder product video done well! Khalief Brown of renno shows pain points getting fixed and how the product was used to solve them.

  • Keep it short and sweet. An 8-word email is better than an 8 paragraph email.

Deadline to Apply 📅

Hustle Fund Angel Squad 4

270 people have joined Hustle Fund's Angel Squad, an inclusive community that trains future angel investors and invites them to invest alongside them. If you missed the previous cohorts, you can still apply to be in the Fall cohort, which starts on October 13th, 2021. Here's the link to apply. I've learned so much and had the opportunity to join a few really great deals being a part of Angel Squad 1.

Long Time Listener 🎧

Episode 5 with Paige Finn Doherty (Founding Partner at Behind Genius Ventures) | Build in Public Podcast

Karthik Puvvada (KP), the host of the Build in Public podcast, brought on Paige Finn Doherty, the founder of Behind Genius Ventures, which is a $5m early-stage fund. Paige Finn Doherty invests in companies that are product-led and focused on GenZ and underrepresented founders. Listen to this podcast for Paige's origin story, how she got into venture, and how building in public on Twitter has helped her.

Before You Go 🚪

What you might have missed.

Thanks for reading! I’ll catch you next time. And don’t forget to share Let’s Start Up with your community!