Berlin-based tech company secures €5M in Seed round for supercharging Google and Microsoft’s services

Increasing productivity can range from simple fixes such as turning notifications off on the phone to more complex steps such as blocking social media websites. But for those who work on spreadsheets, increasing productivity is a whole different ball game. It’s more to do with better workflows and collaboration. Keeping this in mind, the Berlin-based startup Layer offers a remarkable productivity boosting solution while working with Google Sheets or Excel. The company has now announced securing €5 million in a seed round.

Supercharge your spreadsheets!

The process of creating and managing complex, business-critical spreadsheets workflows can be extremely difficult. Businesses rely heavily on spreadsheets for critical processes such as financial planning, reporting, and forecasting. However, these spreadsheets are often fragile and can break easily. On top of that, they can consume hours from highly paid employees on repetitive, mundane tasks, managing contributions over emails, and copy-pasting between files.

The startup Layer deals with all the aforementioned complications and frustrations related to spreadsheets in a simple and efficient manner. The company’s offering adds new collaboration and workflow features on top of existing spreadsheets. With Layer, one gets granular access and can share certain parts of their file, from cell ranges to entire tabs. It also allows automation to take care of repetitive tasks, tracking changes, and versioning. The web app doesn’t require any additional plugins or installations and sits on top of your existing Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets files.

Layer co-founder Constantin Schünemann says, “Spreadsheets are prevalent in nearly every organisation globally, regardless of size and they are not going anywhere. Yet, spreadsheets haven’t changed much in decades. Talk to anyone trying to collaborate with their colleagues on complex spreadsheets, and you will encounter a frustrated user. Having experienced this ourselves, we knew there must be a better way, and that’s what we are building in Layer.”

Backers of Dropbox, Pitch and Slack invest in Layer

Layer has raised €5 million in a Seed funding round, which was led by Index Ventures with participation from earlier backers btov Partners. Old investors were joined by new angel investors which include Ajay Vashee (CFO at Dropbox), Carlos Gonzales-Cadenaz (COO of GoCardless), Felix Jahn (founder and CEO of McMakler), Matt Robinson (founder of GoCardless and Nested) and Max Tayenthal (co-founder and CFO of N26).

Index Ventures’ Max Rimpel says, “Spreadsheets are one of the most successful UI’s ever created, but they’ve been built primarily for a single user, not for large distributed organisations with many teams and departments inputting data to a single document. Just as GitHub has helped developers contribute seamlessly to a single code base, Layer is now bringing sophisticated collaboration tools to the one billion spreadsheet users across the globe.”

Layer is currently available in private beta and its public launch is expected in 2021. One can register for early access here.

Cover image credits: Layer

The post Berlin-based tech company secures €5M in Seed round for supercharging Google and Microsoft’s services appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Where to get the money to start?

How do you get the money to start a business? Do people just save up for a long time in order to meet their goal? A loan? Potential investors?

I have so many ideas for businesses but just no money. I work full time and its just enough for the bills and not enough to save up.

I’m sorry if this isn’t the right place for this.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Atal Innovation Mission teams up with ministries, partners to support startups with COVID-19 solutions – Express Healthcare

Atal Innovation Mission teams up with ministries, partners to support startups with COVID-19 solutions  Express Healthcare
“startups when:1d” – Google News

Delaware Corporation issuing 60% of shares instead of traditional 80%

I'm incorporating in Delaware and am trying to decide if initially issuing 60% of shares versus the standard 80% is appropriate.

In a previous start-up attempt I issued 80% to founders and after some time determined one of the founders was not pulling their weight. We wanted to adjust their equity share to be more appropriate for their business contributions but it was too late. So for this start-up I'm proposing we issue 60% of shares and if we decide someone deserves more equity they can be issued shares from the remaining 40%. I basically think of this like an annual bonus for the founders if they're contributing.

Also, someone involved is currently committed to another company is not available for a few months (and potentially could not commit to us). We would like to give this person some equity (such as 2%) as they've been tremendously helpful up-to this point. If they can give more commitment in the future we can issue them shares from the remaining allocated shares depending on their commitment level. We'd still allocate ~20% for future employees, advisors, partners, etc..

All issued shares would have the normal 4 year vest schedule.

Does this plan sound reasonable? Are there any other ways we might be able to be more strategic about our cap table? I'm also wondering if we don't end up issuing the extra 20% before we raise a priced round we could sell these share instead of issue more shares though I suspect this wouldn't work because investors will want preferred shares and not common shares.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

DC Startup Week 2020 is going virtual this September. Here’s what to expect – Technical.ly DC

DC Startup Week 2020 is going virtual this September. Here’s what to expect  Technical.ly DC
“startups when:1d” – Google News

VC deals jumped this spring in Georgia. But there’s also bad news. – Atlanta Business Chronicle

VC deals jumped this spring in Georgia. But there’s also bad news.  Atlanta Business Chronicle
“startups when:1d” – Google News

Simple Marketing Techniques that made Fortunes.

Note: This text isn't about 4 C's or 4 P's of Marketing.

Did you know there are 585 million entrepreneurs in the world and the number one reason Why small business owners struggle for their business survival?

Let me tell you: "Basic Marketing Techniques are crucial for any startup or business and can make a great difference."

It's not strange to see big companies dropping loads of money into their marketing budgets without even creating a greater impact for consumers. So, a huge amount of entrepreneurs and business owners think of marketing as something that only fortune companies can do properly.

Nothing to argue that you need a quality product, you need to add value to your target consumers but there's the integral part that goes along with it.What if your perfect buyer doesn't even know about your product? What if they don't know the vision behind your product?

We can have questions like this but It's much better to say:

"Product is King, and Distribution is Queen."

There is a considerable reason for writing this post. For the last couple of weeks, I've been researching a lot about "Best Marketing campaigns of all time". Found out that the campaigns which made a great impact don't depend solely on their company size or marketing budget but the simple concepts they used for consumer psychology.You will be reading some simple Marketing techniques that are used by One of the most Iconic Brand Campaigns of all time.

1. Start Inside

Cultural change is the first step that can quickly stand you out from the rest of your competitors: Why? because saying something about yourself is far easier than doing something about it. We see it everywhere, Even some big corporations neglect it and they care about perfect slogans and products but they need to change themselves inwardly first. It's the employees that will turn the brand promise into breakthrough customer experiences. It will be much better if we use an example as given in "What great Brands do",Let's have a scenario about two pharmaceutical companies trying to be Patient-Centric. Both of them have different approaches towards it which lead to some results obviously.

Leaders at pharmaceutical Company A:

  • Invest in fresh new advertising to build awareness in their "patient certainty"
  • Assign a director of "patient certainty"
  • Fund various programs for patients

A year or two later the senior executive will be saying that We can't afford to be patient-centric anymore.

Leaders at pharmaceutical Company B:

  • Use their vision and mission as a compass for all their actions/decision* s
  • Embed patient certainty in their culture
  • Talk about health outcome goals for patients instead of sales goals

A year or two later senior executives will be saying that We have never seen such an engagement in our people and our health partners. We are serving more people than ever before and our dramatic profit increase is enabling us to serve even more patients!

Sadly only an elite few are focused on Company B strategy. These elite use their vision as a driver for everything.

Nike is a great example of this that they made their slogan its core of culture and brand. Their marketing campaigns from time to time tell that greatly.Steven R. Covey talking about IBM wrote in his book:

"I see the leadership of the organization come into a group and say that IBM stands for three things: the dignity of the individual, excellence, and service. These things represent the belief system of IBM. Everything else will change, but these three things will not change."

2. Simplicity

It's hard to make ideas stand out in a noisy and chaotic environment. If we have to succeed we have to Be Simple. You don't have to talk in monosyllables to be simple. Being Simple means: Finding the core of the idea.

When something is simple and concrete, there is little stuff to be taken care of. However, that's not the case with complex ideas.Just think about Nike's Slogan for a moment: Just do it! How simple that is! The TV commercial aired in 1988 isn't of high production budget but great execution of simplicity. Even the slogan is so simple that it keeps itself free from cultural and ethnic differences and is accepted hugely by its audiences.

There is a quotation that superbly defines it:

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

De Beers "A Diamond is forever" and Nike's "Just do it" used this concept immensely, and became part of the culture.

3. Unexpectedness

The most basic way to get someone's attention is this: Break a pattern.Jokes are great examples of it. When we get something completely out of expectation: We laugh. Chip and Dan describe in "Made to Stick" as:

"We have to understand two essential emotions, surprise, and interest, that are commonly provoked by naturally sticky ideas. To be surprising, an event can't be predictable. Surprise is the opposite of predictability. But, to be satisfying, surprise must be "postdictable." The twist makes sense after you think about it, but it's not something you would have seen coming."

If you want your ideas to be stickier, you have got to break someones guessing machine and then fix it.When you break a pattern, people have questions about the whole idea, So for its implication, we have to shift our thinking from “What information do I need to convey?” to “What questions do I want my audience to ask?”

“Think Small” ad campaign by Volkswagen superbly depicts it that it caught people’s attention just when they saw the print ad but at the end of reading the ad, people were hooked to the small car.

4. Social Currency

People like to share things a lot. This is one of the reasons that Social Media Websites are so active. We share our likes, opinions and letting people know about ourselves. However, It isn't the only reason we share though.

One of the prime reasons why we share: It helps us look good in the eyes of others. People upload their snaps going to a new restaurant or a cool place to show adventurous parts of our lives, we share the trendy news or highly valuable content because we are intelligent and more. We share things to project a cooler part of our lives.

This behavior can be labeled as social currency (as called in "Contagious") – we build our social wealth up by sharing and influencing others in a positive way. Jonah Berger puts in "Contagious",

"just as people use money to buy products or services, they use social currency to achieve desired positive impressions among their families, friends, and colleagues."

Jonah says marketers need to use social currency to achieve great word-of-mouth for a product. A company needs to “give people a way to make themselves look good while promoting their products and ideas along the way.”

5. Emotions

Our emotions significantly affect our buying decisions. So you need to focus on feelings. You need to ask what feelings you need to generate so they will take action about what you want. You need to ask: Does talking about your product or idea generate emotions?

Jonah Berger says in "Contagious",

"rather than harping on features or facts, we need to focus on feelings; the underlying emotions that motivate people to action"

But how can you drill down the selection of emotions you want to create, well "Made to Stick" by Chip and Dan Heath, have great advice.

It talks about using 'three ways' to find the emotional core of an idea. Write down why you think people are doing something. Then ask "Why is this important?" three times. Each time you do this, note your answer, and you'll notice that you drill down further and further toward uncovering not only the core of an idea but the emotion behind it."

So when you are deciding how to market things, select high arousal emotions because "simply adding more arousal to a story or ad can have a big impact on people's willingness to buy and share it."

"A Diamond is forever", "Just do it", "Marlboro Man", "We are no. 2, we try harder", Each of them creates certain powerful emotions in the target audience that they even proudly share their choice with each other too. That, Why their choice matters, and what's the vision behind it.

—-

Advice and concepts stated in this text are highly inspired by "Contagious", "What great brands do", "Made to stick", and my thoughts.This text is about basic marketing techniques and these are prominently used in the most iconic campaigns of all time. These Marketing Techniques are gems for any business and worth giving the time.

For these simple techniques, getting a sufficient grasp of some great campaigns is necessary! and If you want to go further for "most iconic campaigns of all time",

This video is a good start.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!