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
A note on growth as an entrepreneur
Opportunities & advice for founders
Founders to keep your eye on
New funds to check out
What's On My Mind 💭
I’ve been thinking…
I saw this tweet the other day that resonated pretty deeply with me. It is simple and just five words but those five words stuck with me.
Most entrepreneurs have the same fire inside of them that makes them want to grow and become better versions of themselves all the time. They have checklists and goals and wake up early to work out and crush it all weekend long to achieve the success they envision. But not everyone lives for success dopamine. Some people are perfectly content in the comfort of their routines and the idea of happiness is stability. And that's OK too.
The hard part is when you start at the same place with ones you love, friends, peers, colleagues, partners, etc. as a little seed and you begin to grow like a flower stretching toward the sun. The taller your stem, the bigger your leaves, and the brighter your petals, the happier you feel. But your friend is also happy being near the soil and yet, finds it hard to relate with you being so big and taking up all of the sunlight. Whether you are the tall flower or the small bloom, the garden is beautiful with you both but it's hard to make a bouquet with flowers at different places in their blossoming journey. And at the end of the day, we will all be wilted just the same.
My advice is to share the sunlight, don't forget about the soil from which you came, but don't stop growing just because someone wants to hold you back.
As a founder and entrepreneur, you will lose some friends along the way, but I promise you will find new ones who give you the space to be big, just like you were always meant to be.
Take up space and grow at your own pace.
What I’ve Been Working On 💁🏻♀️
Things I care about that I want to share
Founders + Funders, Apply Now!
Things are heating up over at Overlooked Ventures! 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, Coming Soon!
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 soon. We already have over 700 people signed up without even knowing what it's about. Amazing!
Weekly Twitter Spaces with Brandon
Co-founder of Overlooked Ventures Brandon Brooks is hosting weekly Twitter Spaces chats with startup founders. In these Q&A sessions, you can ask just about anything you'd like to know. He hosts on Wednesday nights at 9 pm ET.
Recently Hit the Stands 📰
Things in the news you should check out
Pipe, a company that turns recurring revenue into capital, announced a partnership with MicroAquire, a Startup acquisition marketplace. Harry Hurst, the founder of Pipe, explained the reason and details behind the partnership. Now, sellers on MicroAquire can attach Pipe to their financing deals. Learn more about the partnership here.
Black founders, operators, and builders who are looking to learn more about venture capital apply to join BLCK VC's fall cohort for Black Venture Institute. Their mission is to 5X the number of Black check writers in 3 years. This is the kind of change we want to see!
Menopause is not talked about enough in femtech. Elektra Health was founded by Alessandra Henderson and Jannine Versi to provide evidence-based care, education, and a community for women going through menopause. The company just secured $3.75 million in seed funding to continue building out its platform.
Startup deal-making isn't as exclusive now. Angel investing is becoming very popular. There are so many programs, meet-ups, and resources to help anyone learn about angel investing. Hustle Fund's Angel Squad is an example of how people outside of Silicon Valley are entering the world of startup investing.
Black millennials went to and graduated college in order to have more net worth and financial stability. However, the median net worth of college-educated Black Americans is actually decreasing. "More than 84% of college-educated Black households in their 30s have student debt," which is up from 35% three decades ago.
Construction tech startup Agora raises $33M in Tiger Global-led round amid 760% YoY ARR growth Agora Systems is a construction tech startup that provides a platform for construction companies to manage their materials procurement process from requisition to delivery. Maria Rioumine and Ryan Gibson are the founders of Agora and are dedicated to helping projects move faster and reduce building costs.
Over the last year, there has been an increase in diversity-focused and diverse-led funds. Harlem Capital wrote this blog post to showcase the progress of the industry by highlighting funds. Their research groups VC funds into three categories, diversity-focused, diversity-led and diversity-focused, and diversity-led. Almost half (49%) of funds are categorized as both.
Starting a company involves a lot of work, and not to mention, the amount of capital needed to get started. There are a few roads to take when it comes to funding your startup, and many women of color are opting for the equity crowdfunding option. Read this article to find out why.
Health-care startup HUED was founded by Kimberly Wilson. Wilson recently announced that it raised $1.6 million in seed funding from investors such as the Female Founders Fund, Serena Williams’ VC fund Serena Ventures, and many more.
Megan Bent launched Harbinger Ventures to back companies that have at least one female founder. According to Megan, there isn't a pipeline problem, and finding women founders is much easier than you'd think. Plus, funding women lead to good returns for VCs.
Reese Witherspoon's company Hello Sunshine was sold to a media company backed by the private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc. Sarah Harden and Witherspoon will still be involved in the day-to-day operations of Hello Sunshine despite its sale.
According to data recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mothers of young kids spent eight hours a day on child care and six hours on working. It is clear that caretaker responsibilities fell on women during the pandemic.
DocSpace is a digital health commerce platform that helps clinicians start, manage, and grow tech-enabled private practices. This month, the company announced $1.2 million in seed funding led by Slauson & Co.
Jelani Memory, the founder of A Kids Company About, announced that the company raised $7 million in funding to build the future of kids’ media. The company started with A Book About and grew its collection to 50+ books. Now, they have a podcasting network, a "masterclass for teens," and much more on the way.
A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦
Tweet of the moment
Hot Take of the Moment 🔥
Somebody had to say it
Founders You Should Follow 👀
Founders making moves
Ritika Mehta, Visualist
Ritika Mehta is just 23 years old and a 2x founder. Her second startup is called Visualist, a tool that will help visualize the process of learning or working on something in a form of a playlist through embedded items from the web. The waitlist for the app is currently open, sign up here. Ritika is also passionate about community building and product advising and shares her expertise on Substack.
Rebekah Bastian, Own Trail
First-time founder and CEO of OwnTrail, Rebekah Bastian is helping women visualize and navigate their life paths. OwnTrail advances women individually and systemically by giving them a platform to share, embrace, and "own" their stories. Rebekah also started #AuthenTech, a community of founders who are building startups that are both people-focused and value-driven.
New Funds Announced 🚀
BoxGroup is an eleven-year-old venture capital firm that prides itself on being the first "yes" to companies. The firm recently closed two funds totaling $255 million so that they can invest more in early-stage companies.
Arlan Hamilton and Backstage Capital just launched a new fund for accredited investors. The fund is offering different tiers for investors to get in on, starting at 50K, and is capital called in overtime.
Moderne Ventures, founded by Constance Freedman, closed its first fund at $200 million. This early-stage venture capital firm plans on investing in companies that are innovating the following industries with technology: real estate, mortgage, finance, insurance, hospitality, and home services.
Zell Capital is pioneering a new type of fund that gives all investors access to venture capital investing. Zell Capital's Access Fund is publicly registered with the SEC, allowing any investor, both accredited and non-accredited to invest, with a minimum investment of $1,000.
Zell Capital was launched by Will Zell, a tech entrepreneur and investor who has founded three tech companies, including Nikola Labs, which has raised over $20 million in venture capital to date. Based in Columbus, the fund invests in Seed and Series A funding rounds of tech startups. Investors can learn more about the fund and invest directly at www.zellcapital.com.
Startup Bookshelf 📚
John Green's recent book Anthropocene is an enlightening collection of essays and reviews. Green will tell a story and review it on a 5-star scale, and they are not to be taken lightly. I have had to take the book in strides because of the emotions it brings up (chills and tears, in a good way). It's powerful and thought-provoking and at times, I realized what I needed was to take a deep breath. Grab your copy, and let me know when you do so we can talk about sycamore trees and Hiroyuki Doi's Circle Drawings
What you need to know
There's been an increase in round sizes. Here's a good rule of thumb to use when thinking about your fund size and expectations for what you'll raise from Charles Hudson.
Email subject lines can be tricky. Increase open rates and get business with this framework by Shounak.
Even if the odds are stacked against you, you can reach a successful exit with early marketing. Chris Cantino explains how he did it on Twitter.
Alex Lieberman started angel investing 12 months ago. He's learned a lot along the way and outlines what he wishes he knew before he started.
Asking questions is important to both personal and professional relationships. These are 6 questions you should ask and why to become more likable.
Revenue-based financing options are more popular now than ever! That way, your ownership won't shrink as your revenue grows. Here's more about RBF from Bryce Roberts.
If you're looking to work with a diverse venture capitalist, check out this Airtable list.
How do you get people to actually read and respond to your DMs? Twitter is about having fun and making friends. Aadit Sheth shares how to make genuine connections by using the notifications feature.
Justin Gordon put together an ever-growing list of some of the best resources for founders and investors, including Tweets, essays, and more.
It's no secret that PR is valuable. The right media placement can land you tons of customers. This is how Amanda Natividad did it while working for a healthy snack brand.
OV Advisor Saba Karim built an ultimate elevator pitch template for any founder to use.
David Cummings shares VC Alternative Startup Financing Options in this blog post to help founders make the right decisions for their best interest.
Startups to Watch 👀
Keep your eye on these
Launched last week, Leda Health is a company supporting sexual assault survivors through a variety of services: Early evidence DNA kits, Exam location map, Healing circles, and dorm delivery for Plan B and other testing kits. Co-founders Madison Campbell and Liesel Vaidya found that 77% of sexual assaults are not reported and with experience of sexual assault herself, Madison created Leda Health as a way for women to get help even if they may not be able to visit a hospital immediately after an assault.
STEALTH COMPANY: Two words, men’s makeup. Pre-revenue (launching spring/summer 2022) men’s cosmetics brand looking for a few investors who see the market opportunity and believe in their team of beauty A-listers to execute. Founded by two beauty experts with experience at NARS, Fenty, Glossier, L'Oreal, etc. their goal is to transform the perception that color cosmetics are only for women.
Community Asks 👥
Great opportunities out there right now
Here's an amazing opportunity to join a fast-growing startup in the health-tech and fintech space that recently received funding from top VCs in LA and the Bay Area. They're looking for an underrated (often overlooked) and ambitious CTO that's not afraid to be a rebel and stand up against traditional systems. If this sounds like you, please send me an email or DM, and I'd love to make the introduction.
Before You Go 🚪
What you might have missed.
Fund Black Founders is a crowdfunding platform where you can invest in a wide variety of black-founded companies!
Employees are having a difficult time. Check-in with your staff and your friends.
A request for the best recruiters and networks for engineering talent.
Being the planner of the bunch is a lot of work.
It took a while for Canva to get where it is today. Here's the story of how Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht built Canva.
Thanks for reading! I’ll catch you next time. And don’t forget to share No Longer Overlooked with your community!