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In April 2020, NextView VC launched its debut accelerator in the middle of the pandemic, while historic incubators like Y Combinator and 500 Startups were rethinking their independent strategies. Important tweaks like making lots fully remote and dropping the cohort model gave us a look at how some of the most active pre-seed and seed investors were rethinking their jobs.
Fast forward perhaps many months, NextView partner Melody Koh tells me that the accelerator is launching its third class with some important tweaks, again signaling some interesting changes to the early stage boot scene.
The first big change is that NextView is increasing the check size from $200,000 for an 8% stake to $400,000 for a 10% stake. Large check amounts in this economy are anything but surprising, but Koh’s perspective is that the money “will arm companies with a little more ammunition than can actually prepare them.” In addition to market pressure, the company realized that they were the only sources of funding for many cohort startups – which meant they needed to make larger upfront investments to actually get these companies to follow the funding.
“It just provides a little more flexibility and the ability for teams to really experiment and execute and get to the next stage of milestones that this market is looking for right now,” he added. So far, more than 50% of NextView accelerator alumni identify themselves as underrepresented founders and come from cities such as Miami, Seattle, Boston, Birmingham, San Diego and New York.
Considering its distributed format, the office had to update its mentoring. This time, it’s pairing each of its six to eight batch startups with a primary partner for weekly meetings and a secondary partner for monthly meetings. The first will give the company a more continuous resource while in the weeds and is a result of the feedback that NextView has seen from previous cohorts. The more involved partnership model can bring startup founders more activation energy when they need it most.
And finally, the company is doubling its demo day rule. Part of the argument here is that the idea of a flashy annual event may no longer be necessary for founders to garner coveted attention.
“We don’t think deadlines are artificial, and the demo date format is the best use of your time,” Koh said. “The way we relate to each company is… ‘OK, each of you has a different set of milestones that make sense to you’, so we didn’t really focus on the demo day as the right way to spend your energy or our energy . ”
NextView is not alone in rethinking demo days and its broader investment strategy. Companies like Contrary Capital and startups like Launch House are also looking for smarter ways to close deals and boost startups.
Even in a world where capital is a commodity, investors are preparing – perhaps even more – to find innovative ways to make their money even more worthwhile for the founders. The talk of “value adding” can be scary at times, but to me it’s just a sign that an emerging class of investors is finding out what they’re best at (apart from identifying ambitious founders). That’s fun to see, and even something as small as an adjustment to the throttle shape can give us something to think about.
For my full take on this topic, check out my Ploonge+ column: Boot accelerators ‘added value’ definition should be updated.
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll delve into the trends of CES 2022, a fintech with an anti-CAC take and a resource on the future of Black Girls Code. As always, you can follow my thoughts on Twitter @nmasc_ or listen me and my friends on Equity.
Vital Signs Lights and Soft Smart Cat Collars
From smart cat collars to color-changing cars, CES never ceases to amaze us. Although the Ploonge team chose to remotely cover the annual tech conference due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, our reporters were on all the latest and greatest tech sneak peeks. All of our CES coverage can be found at this cool link, but I recommend starting with Brian Heater’s CES 2022 themes just to wet your taste buds.
Here’s what to know: Featured announcements so far include BMW’s plan to turn cars into movie theaters, a mission to scale paper-based toothbrushes and, on a more serious note, a statement about the importance of a pillow that tracks your child’s temperature .
Other “wait what” moments include:
And the launch of the week is…
Bankaya! As our own Mary Ann Azevedo reports, this Mexican fintech is opting for a non-traditional strategy when it comes to gaining customers: going offline. The new, early-stage company targets 50 million people with little bank account with face-to-face advertising: think of street sales and debit card kiosks strategically placed at vaccination centers.
here is what to know: Just one year after launch, Bankaya co-founders’ CEO Mauricio Cordero, Ramón Chedraui and Diego Vargas claim they have reached 450,000 customers. And, in addition to its counter-intuitive strategy, the company is fully initialized so far.
Kimberly Bryant and the future of Black Girls Code
During the break, news broke that Black Girls Code co-founder and CEO Kimberly Bryant has been “indefinitely suspended” from the non-profit organization she launched nearly a decade ago. I spoke to the nonprofit board that decided to put her on leave, former employees who allege rising tensions between Bryant and the organization, and of course Bryant herself to get the full story.
Here’s what to know: There are too many nuances in this story to sum it all up in one perfect synopsis, so I would really recommend anyone interested to read the entire story. As of now, the board says it has formed a special committee to review complaints against Bryant from past and current employees and placed Bryant on paid administrative leave last week “to ensure a thorough and fair review process.”
Boot Boards 101:
Our event calendar got leaked (by us), so now’s your chance to check out our legendary lineup for this year. I’m very excited to share that Ploonge Disrupt, our flagship event, will return as a face-to-face event. Three days, lots of talk about startups and too much caffeine. Buy tickets as soon as possible
throughout the week
Viewed on Ploonge
Elizabeth Holmes convicted of 4 of 11 counts of fraud in Theranos trial
Ribbit Capital, focused on fintech, raises $1.15 billion in the seventh fund, according to SEC filing
MVP versus EVP: Is it time to introduce ethics into the agile startup model?
Equity team forecasts for 2022
Memes, Money and Madness: 2021 in Technology
Viewed on Ploonge+
3 views: how due diligence will change in 2022
VCs and founders are optimistic at best as public markets flash warning signs
How to be one of the ‘ters’ of SaaS
Sectors where New Zealand startups are ready to win
What are the ‘jobs to be done’ of an investment manager?
Ah, friends, it’s good to be back,