Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Early stage founders have only a few ways to recruit and retain employees:

  • Offer a competitive salary
  • Create a role that leverages their interests/talent
  • Give them a share in the company.

In most cases, equity will not leave employees with a significant amount of wealth. But even the most bitter employee will think twice about walking away from a job before fully owning it.

In a guest post from TC+, Kirsten Prost, vice president at VC/PE company Tercera, explains detailed steps for designing your equity program.


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Her guide includes parentheses and multipliers for contributors at different levels, along with fictional examples founders can use for modeling, and tips to help employees understand the value of their effort.

Speaking as a veteran of many startup startups, entrepreneurs love to see them talk about fostering an ownership mindset, but if that’s more than just happy talk, you need a transparent equity program first.

On Monday, January 17, we are free to see Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate.

Thank you so much for reading and have a nice weekend!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, BestFitnessBands+
@yourprotagonist

Dear Sophie: Do we need a visa to explore the US market?

lone figure at the entrance of the maze hedge with an American flag in the middle

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/BestFitnessBands

Dear Sophie,

My husband and I are planning to visit our daughter during her spring break. (She is an F-1 international student at a US university.)

Between spending time with our daughter and sightseeing, we want to explore the feasibility of expanding our business in the United States.

Do we need a special visa for that?

— Multitasking Mom

Unicorn exits bode poorly as Justworks postpones IPO, citing ‘market conditions’

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/BestFitnessBands

There is a growing gap between public and private market valuations of tech startups, and Justworks’ decision to delay the IPO could be a harbinger of things to come, writes Alex Wilhelm.

Software companies are being hammered into the public markets, while the private markets continue to maintain their enthusiasm for tech startups.

This difference of opinion, writes Alex, could turn out to be bad for wealthy startups that want to leave this year.

“Justworks’ IPO delay indicates that the enthusiasm gap between private markets and their public analog is wide. And for expensive unicorns still bleeding money, that’s terrible news.

Blockchain Gaming Survey: 7 Investors Discuss Regulations, Opportunities & NFT Hype

Wemade Co.'s Mir4 mobile game, arranged on a smartphone in Seongnam, South Korea, on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. Based on blockchain technology, Mir4 allows online players to convert in-game assets into tradable cryptocurrencies , while their avatars hunt and fight in the virtual world.  Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Image Credits: Bloomberg (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Game distribution platform Steam banned blockchain-based games in October 2021: All titles containing NFTs or cryptocurrency were summarily booted from the service.

Meanwhile, new players in Axie Infinity, an NFT-based online game, pay hundreds of dollars to buy mythical pets and love potions.

Blockchain gaming is penetrating some consumers, but what are investors thinking, given the lack of regulatory guidance and the speculative nature of many crypto holding companies?

To find out, we surveyed seven people who are active in space:

  • Anton Backman, director, and Kenrick Drijkoningen, general partner, Play Ventures
  • Banafsheh Fathieh, Head of Investments, Americas, Prosus Ventures
  • Josh Chapman, managing partner, Konvoy Ventures
  • Eddie Thai, General Partner, 500 Startups and General Partner, Ascend Vietnam Ventures
  • Beryl Li, Co-Founder, Yield Guild Games
  • Rajul Garg, Founder and Managing Partner, Leo Capital

Setting up high conversion lead magnets that deliver value

Magnet drawing people

Magnet drawing people

It’s one thing to get a potential customer to visit your site, but convincing them to reach for their wallet or share their phone number is a chore.

As consumers gain more control over their privacy, Aleksandra Korczynska, CMO of GetResponse, says marketers who align lead generation with their potential customers’ goals will reap a significant advantage.

“The key is building a foot-in-the-door technique for continuous engagement — lead magnets,” she says.

The SPAC boom was a failure, yes?

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman (Opens in a new window)

Special purpose acquisition companies took 2020 and 2021 by storm, allowing a large cohort of companies to go public.

But as they say, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Disappointment is not limited to one industry, writes Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange. Real estate tech, fintech, media and personal mobility companies have all seen major downturns since their debut.

“I would risk that we have collected enough data to call the SPAC tree a failure.”

Despite the play-to-earn angle of blockchain gaming, I’d rather pay

Isometric Financial Mobile Game Icons

Image Credits: Gunes Ozcan (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Paying users to play is part of blockchain gaming’s unique selling proposition, but is that the purpose of entertainment?

Senior editor Alex Wilhelm says he enjoys the fun and excitement that comes with playing against others online, but “I’m bearish about crypto games as they currently exist for a few reasons, even if the incentives are more similar.” are tuned than they appear in traditional gaming.”

Why CNET Co-Founder Halsey Minor Is Optimistic About NFTs

Halsey Minor is best known as a co-founder of CNET and an early investor of Salesforce.com, but in recent years he has been working in crypto.

After developing content for three decades, he now heads Vivid Labs, which operates its own NFT publishing platform.

“Just as I recognized the huge explosion of the internet many years ago, I see crypto and NFTs as the technology of the future,” Minor said in a TC+ interview advising founders looking to raise capital for web3 projects.

Data shows 2021 was an insane, record year for venture capital

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman (Opens in a new window)

Next week, Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm plan to submit a series of stories for The Exchange examining sectors and trends in different regions. To lay a foundation for that reporting, they looked back this week on a record year for venture capital.

In 2021, VC investments totaled $621 billion, up 111% from the previous year, according to CB Insights. Crunchbase estimates the figure at $643 billion.

“Regardless of which number we pick, it’s clear that well over half a trillion dollars was invested in high-growth private companies last year — roughly doubling what the same asset class managed in 2020.”

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