October 27, 2014

Lifesum is hiring!

At Lifesum we're currently hiring Performance Marketing Manager, Test Automation Engineer, Senior Platform Engineers and other roles. Check'em out!

October 26, 2014

Sunday reading on company building and more

An old, I cannot find the date but guess early 2000's, Harvard Business School interview with Tom Murphy (ex-CEO of Capital Cities that's now part of Disney). Some very good food for thought around building a company in no particular order: 1) management running the company like owners for the long-term, 2) responsibility to employees, customers and shareholders, 3) hire smart people and give them responsibility and share of the financial upside, 4) never do improper or unethical things, 5) care about costs, 6) be in a good business.

Business Insider: Why Selling A Startup For $20 Million Can Be Better Than Selling It For $200 Million. Some math that's crucial to understand for entrepreneurs. It all starts with understanding why you are doing something and what you're trying to achieve. More capital can help you achieve your goal, but it can also make it practically impossible to get there.

James Montier: Sharholder Value Maximization (video). A critique of the idea of shareholder value maximization and why it doesn't seem to work from an investor point-of-view.

NYMag.com: In Conversation Marc Andreessen. On technology, regulation and economics.

October 25, 2014

Don't invest to be an angel, but do recycle capital

I don't think the title angel investor is a helpful or accurate way to describe early investors in startups. Capital is crucial for all companies, but individuals and funds that invest in startups aren't angels. There are many good reasons that drive people to invest that aren't captured by standard financial return calculations, like paying it forward, learning new stuff, building relationships and making the place you live and work in more interesting. But angel? I think not.

Anyone who makes a little or a lot of money from a startup should do whatever she wants with it. Spend it on alcohol, men and fast cars. Or just squander it by paying off debts, making a downpayment on a mortgage, investing in the stock market or buying a well-deserved vacation.[1]

But if there's some capital left after personal needs are taken care of, a fundamentally good ethos in the startup world is paying it forward and investing in new companies. Recycling capital, as Fred Wilson puts it.[2] But even more valuable than only investing capital is to also help a startup with relationships, experience and maybe even some wisdom.

Investing and advising can be very rewarding both mentally and emotionally in the short-term, and if you're lucky financially in the long-term (startup investing is very slow money). But just because an investment isn't entirely captured by a traditional valuation model and is personally rewarding doesn't make anyone an angel, just a mensch.[3]

October 18, 2014

Going beyond the 10 slides. Make sure your startup has a plan and a budget.

When raising seed or venture capital, having a traditional 10 slide presentation (plus backup slides) works well to communicate what your doing to traditional VCs and seed-stage investors and will go along way in raising capital.

However, you should spend quite some time thinking about different scenarios for the next 12 to 24 months and creating traditional budgets for those scenarios and not only create the slides. Having a plan and budget is much more valuable than most first-time technology entrepreneurs probably think.

It might be all about product, product, product the first 12 months of a startup, but if you run out of money you're dead, dead, dead and then product won't help you.

You should build a budget and a plan that allow you to raise enough cash to cover your costs for 12 to 18 months. At the end of the period you should be at cash-flow breakeven or have reached a milestone that will allow you to raise more capital.

If you're building digital services for mobile or the web, guessing your revenue is very difficult and quite risky unless you have some sales already. So assuming zero revenues is reasonably conservative from a cash perspective. But you should be able to estimate your costs quite well once you think through your team, business model, market and product.

By doing that thinking, you should have a good sense of how many people you need and how much to pay them, how much you need to spend on marketing (you're unlikely to grow entirely for free), office space, insurance, attorneys fees, travel etc. Figure out when different costs materialise and add it all up.

You will be a lot smarter about your business and more likely to succeed in both raising capital and building a company if you put in the time to understand how your costs will develop.

As the saying goes: "Plans are worthless, but planning is everything."

October 16, 2014

Apple mentions Lifesum at Special Event

Today at Apple's Special Event (14:30 minutes in) Apple mentioned Lifesum as an example of apps that are integrated with HealthKit. Very honored to be highlighted and proud of the team's work.

We are hiring.

January 1, 2014

If you're getting healther in 2014 - use Lifesum

If you've made a New Year Resolution to become healthier in 2014, you really should use Lifesum (formerly ShapeUp Club). Available on the App Store for iPhone, in Google Play for Android and on the web. Active members lose, on average, 6 kgs in 3 months and this year I personally intend to be one of them.

We made lots of improvements to Lifesum in 2013 and James Pember of Swedish Startup Space summarized them very well in a tweet: "Holy shit. The new @Lifesum app is beautiful. Masssssiiiive improvement!"

December 11, 2013

ShapeUp Club upgrades and becomes Lifesum

Today ShapeUp Club is announcing its new name and brand: Lifesum. The Lifesum brand better captures our ambition to help people change their behavior and improve their lives.

Head over to Lifesum.com or download the updated Lifesum app from the App Store or Google Play.