How Startup Funding Works

Let’s talk about 💰 and new business ventures. The most important thing for a new venture is that has a product or service that people really love. The second most important thing is that the team is able to get the money they need to be able to tell people about what they’re doing. They need to grow their audience. So, how did this usually work?

Funding Rounds
Usually, each time a business receives investment from outside people (not banks) they’re selling some kind of ownership stake in the company. For example, if your dad invests $25,000 to help you get started with the understanding he’ll get an ownership percentage later, that would be a funding “round.”

If a year later, a group of 3 angel investors got together and each put in $50,000 to buy some of the company, that’s a “funding round” too. And if you did really well and a venture capital fund invests $2 million later, that’s a “round” too.

Most people would call your dad’s investment a “Friends & Family” round, the angel investor funding a “Seed” or “Angel” round, and the venture capital investment (the third step) a “Series A” round.

Angel Investors
Angel investors are usually the first people to invest in a company after the founder herself or the founder’s friends & family gets things moving. Angel Investors usually put in relatively small amounts of money and often work actively to help the company make progress.

In the real world, you’ll often run into “Angel Groups” like the North Bay Angels who were involved with Eazl in the early days. These groups are clubs for angel investors who look at companies together and sometimes partner up to make investments in startups. The individuals in the groups usually like to ask the other angel investors what they think before they make an investment.

Venture Capital Funding
Once the company shows that people really interested in whatever it has created, the company might be able to get venture capital funding. The Series A round usually means the first time venture capitalists invest in a company, and usually they make an investment of $1-5 million.

If the company successfully grows using the Series A money, it can raise a larger amount of venture capital money which would be the Series B round and so fourth.

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These Brands are Killing It on Instagram

these brand are killing it on instagram

I love finding branding and marketing inspiration on Instagram and I’m loving the platform in general these days because the user experience is a lot more enjoyable than the toxic environment on Facebook. You can find out more about how we feel about THAT whole sitch here.

In my feed, I like to see posts from a mix of different kinds of companies because, as a marketer, I’m constantly paying attention to what other marketers are doing well. If you are a marketer or a small business owner, you might know what I mean. And I’d LOVE to see what profiles you’ve been following for ideas and inspiration. You can leave a comment below or Tweet at me and I’ll check it out your favorites.

Lately, I’ve been feeling an intense amount of marketing love for a few companies in particular.

  1. Moondeli
    Moondeli makes healthy tonics that can be added to nut milk, coffee, juices, and smoothies. Their ingredients feature some of the highest quality, most potent rainforest plants like turmeric, maca, and cacao.

Their branding enforces the “alternativeness” or, shall I say, traditional kind of health products they sell. (I always think it’s funny to call ingestion of ingredients that have been known for their health properties for hundreds and hundreds of years “alternative” just because we’ve made advancement in medicine. You can have both, you know?)

With Moondeli’s branding suite, you really do feel like you’ve been pulled into a community and an experience that centers around beauty and natural health. From their logo and typography to the corresponding symbols on their different products, they’ve created something that is attractive; something that possesses all of the right elements to get their target market’s attention.

 

<<photos of packaging on my IG account>>

They invest a lot in their photography as well. They are consistent in their themes, layouts, and colors -a ton of the flatlays feature crystals with a color palette of pinks, blues, greens, and greys. It’s that kind of ethereal feel that is earthy yet coming on trend. It’s just pretty and fun to look at.

🌑💜💭✨ #energytonic ✨ #almondmilk ✨ #amethyst ✨ #intentions

A post shared by 🌕 M O O N D E L I 🌕 (@moondeli) on

 

Something else they are doing right? User generated content. They’ve created a culture where their community feels so connected to Moondeli’s product, strangers are tagging away and the company ends up with a ton of free, beautiful content to fill their Instagram feed and build their credibility. Not only that, but it also seems that the community has taken cues from the company on what the aesthetics of a photo featuring a Moondelli product should look like.

And it’s in the customer’s interest to create a photo that Moondeli might share because it might help them grow THEIR OWN audience.

See what they did there?

Stunning capture by the radiant @sidneybensimon 🙌🌞💙✨#gratitude #plantmedicine #love

A post shared by 🌕 M O O N D E L I 🌕 (@moondeli) on

 

Finally, I love that Moondeli breaks down the barrier and rids the customer of the burden of HOW IN THE HECK to use their products. They frequently give tips on on new uses and include recipes in many of their posts. There’s also a recipes page on their website. This serves the purpose of eliminating hesitation to purchase because the viewer already knows specific ways they will use the product.

Enjoy some more of Moondeli’s eye candy and check out how I used some of their products here.

  1. Ox and Otter
    Shiyana of Ox and Otter is a ceramicist who runs her entire business with just an Instagram account (over 90k followers) and a SUPER SIMPLE website that currently features all of her sold out creations. Think about that next time you get caught up opening accounts and building elaborate websites when you should be focusing on your product.

 

My favorite handmade indulgences all in one- 🌿Pottery 🌿Rings 🌿Body Care

A post shared by Shiyana (@oxandotter) on

Shiyana creates beautiful, one of a kind ceramic mugs and bowls and is a self-described Ceramic Artist Glaze Witch. What’s fun about Ox and Otter is that you are following HER -the creator of the beautiful pieces that you might someday get to purchase if you can catch a mug in your cart before they all sell out. Since you see her often, posing with her Black Wave and Midnight Rose works of art that happen to hold coffee, you feel a much stronger connection with the brand. It’s that feeling of friendship that social media is so capable of creating between a person and their stranger-followers.

Ox and Otter has a look that users are clearly responding to, so Shiyana is smart to focus on creating variations of the same kind of design, “milking” what is already working for her.

One thing that I love most about Shiyana’s content is the amount of effort she puts into her photoshoots. Rest assured, there WILL BE color coordinated nail polish that compliments the mug on display and everything from her makeup and clothes to the background reinforces the branding. Really, it’s just her taste that is very unique, beautiful, and focused.

 

  1. Liberated Heart
    With the ultimate summer/festival wear, Liberated Heart is also tapping into the witchy, celestial vibe that Moondeli and Ox and Otter have done so well. They operate mainly between their Instagram Account and website.

When the brand launched in 2013, it gained a cult following and became a  leader in festival fashion and, after that an additional surge in attention when model Candace Swanepoel was photographed wearing one of their dresses. Then, the company focused on engaging the influx of commenters on their Instagram photos, which really paid off for them.

I think that Liberated Heart manages their ratio of content expertly. It’s a good mix of straight product promotion to sell specific items for their catalog and themes like desert scenes, palm trees, beach frolicking that support the branding so well.

Weekend setup vibes ✨✨✨ @lisadanielle__

A post shared by LIBERATED HEART (@liberatedheart) on

 

  1. Room Service Vintage
    I used to shop at Room Service for most of my furniture and a lot of my decor during the time I lived in Austin, Texas. I continued following them for years after I moved because I love to torture myself with vintage steals that I can never have because they don’t ship.

Room Service uses their Instagram account to sell the pieces they post by allowing a 2 hour hold on items. They even keep the posts updated with their “sold” status and it obviously works well for them.

Cherry Blossom Pink Recliner with Cane sides, 42″ t x 25″ w x 28″ d, $149.00 -SOLD-

A post shared by Room Service Austin, Texas (@roomservicevintage) on

Their photos aren’t that fancy and there aren’t any posts created “just for looks” -this is a purely functional account. It simply a catalog and they get enough high quality pieces in to be able to develop leads on Instagram.

It’s these little tricks that can work for small business -something you might want to keep in mind if you deal with one-of-a-kind retail.

 

Do you have any favorite non-major brands that you follow on Instagram for inspiration? I’d love to know what you are paying attention to. Tweet at me or respond in the comments below.

Jeff Bezos Has Too Much Power

Jeff Bezos Has Too Much Power

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

LOCATIONS MENTIONED
Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago Athletic Association

CONTENT MENTIONED
Direct Brain/Computer Integration is (Really) Close

Manufacturing Consent

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If you’re reading this, tell me how you feel about Amazon acquiring Whole Foods.

Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow!

Direct Brain/Computer Integration is (Really) Close

How soon will human brains and computers be one? The technology is advancing fast. Faster than you might think. Interestingly, advanced human/machine integrations seems to have built a lot of momentum by helping people with disabilities overcome their disabilities and even be stronger by augmenting their human capabilities with machine capabilities.

Modified Humans
Rob Spence is blind in one eye and is a filmmaker so naturally, he decided to replace his eyeball with a camera. Now, he’s one of the many humans who are getting modified. Also, a team at Stanford has successfully enabled a paralyzed woman to type by building direct connections with her brain.

What’s Going on at Facebook’s Building 8
Facebook has been leading the charge in the human/machine integration area and the person leading this effort is a former head of the US Department of Defense’s Innovation squad. Her name is Regina Dugan and you can follow her on Facebook. Currently, they’re building systems that enable people to type at 100 wpm by decoding brain activity, decoding it into “virtual speech,” and deploying it as text. They’re also working on a way for humans to *hear through their skin*!

Towards Computer/Human Oneness
Here are some ways to keep up with what’s happening with computer / human integration:

Follow Facebook Building 8’s Regina Dugan
Connect with Dustin Tyler, an engineering professor who is at the front lines of developing physical objects that can feel, on LinkedIn
Follow Rob Spence, the guy with the camera eye who is working actively on this stuff at and check out his work and TED Talks

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What You Eat at Work Can Make You More Productive

What You Eat at Work Can Make You More Productive

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

RECIPES
Mango Buckwheat Porridge from Simply Quinoa:
Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers from Oh She Glows:
Moondeli Recipes

PRODUCTS:
Moondeli Bliss Booster

CONTENT
Brant Wickersham on Emotion and Vulnerability
Yoga with Adriene

OUR PRIVATE GROUPS
Career Lounge
Marketing Mastermind

FEATURED MUSIC
This is What it Feels Like by Banks
Imagination by Gorgon City
Empire Ants Ft. Little Dragon by Gorillaz

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If you’re reading this, tell me how you eat healthy during the work week or what gives you energy to be productive!

Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow!

From Brant Wickersham: Why Emotion Is Okay

This is an excerpt from an original blog post on The Inquiry of Excellence blog.

brant wickersham
“Vulnerability is often overlooked and ignored.

For longer than I can remember, I’ve heard that men are designed to be tough. From a purely genetic and physiological sense, it is easily understood. Men have higher levels of testosterone than women and can naturally build muscle at higher levels than women. The issue that I find in this statement, however, is not its association with muscle or the physical nature of being a man, but that it’s also been attached to the mental side of being a man.

brant wickersham

It’s frowned upon to cry, frowned upon to be seen as weak, and on top of that, the least manly thing you can do is to always be that moody friend.

Naturally, we are susceptible to emotions, but men have been trained into thinking that emotion is not a factor to personal development.”

brant wickersham

What’s In My Work Bag?

What’s In My Work Bag?
I reveal what’s in my work bag at 7:40.

You can find the Brain Boost on Ethereum and Bitcoin here.

About This Vlog
Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

Products & Stores I Mentioned
I can’t remember the name of the store in Sayulita. Sorry!
Artillery in San Francisco
Henry Beguelin clutch/toiletry bag
Veriditas Essential Oil (Mental Clarity)
Egyptian Magic Skin Healing Cream
Dr Jart BB Cream
Coola Sport SPF 50
Diptyque Parfum Solide

Want to watch more vlogs? Check out my other videos here.

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If you’re reading this, tell me what’s in your bag in the comments below!

Ethereum is more important than Bitcoin

On June 6th of 2017, people owned $23.4 billion worth of Ether. That’s the cryptocurrency that powers the Ethereum ecosystem–a system that claims that it will be the “new internet.” The people building this ecosystem aren’t crazy, either. Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, and Toyota are just a few of the 100+ enterprises betting big that Ethereum is the future of contracts, money, and business management.

Ethereum vs. Bitcoin
Ethereum is a blockchain-based technology like Bitcoin but while Bitcoin is primarily used for transferring money between individuals, Ethereum’s technology includes one huge evolution: Smart Contracts. Smart contracts are basically the combination of agreements between people and automatic flows of money based on the rules of the contract. So, for example, a marketer, a developer, and an investor could all enter into a smart contract that says that each person gets ⅓ of the money created from a new piece of software that the developer builds, the marketer sells, and the investor funds… and all of these distributions will be made automatically… and maybe even outside country-specific financial systems. This dramatic lowering of transaction costs has huge implications for banks, insurance companies, workers, and governments.

Big Companies are Paying Attention
Already, companies like Accenture, JP Morgan, Microsoft, BP, and more than 100 other enterprises have formed the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance which is is connecting these huge companies with startups to find ways of using their technologies at scale. Toyota is even working on using an Ethereum system to manage a fleet of self-driving cars.

How to Learn More 
1: Follow Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, on Twitter
2: Read a post on Ethereum and the DAO or “decentralized autonomous organization” to get familiar with some of the early successes and obstacles of this area of innovation
3: Learn more about the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance
4: Buy yourself a little bit of Ether at Coinbase — just try it out with as little as $5 to get yourself familiar

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Working from Home is More Productive

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

FIND THE BOOK I MENTIONED
Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

FEATURED MUSIC
Eastminster by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license
Source
Artist

If you’re reading this, tell me what some of your favorite marketing or entrepreneurship books, blogs, or courses.

Thanks for watching See you tomorrow!

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How Blockchain will Revolutionize the World’s Data

🎥 Ludell Jones, Eazl’s Marketing Director, has been publishing some awesome vlogs about the day in the life of a modern marketer. Check out her latest installation here 🎥

Big Blockchain Data
We live in a world where owning data is the way that companies compete but as more industries–from finance to insurance to ecommerce–transition to more secure and scalable blockchain-based systems, things in the world of data will change. Some people are calling this “the industrialization of data.” Read more here.

Facebook’s Data Factory
Facebook’s collection of data makes it one of the most influential organizations in the world and Serbian CS professor Vladan Joler has been leading a massive project to map the massive Facebook data collecting machine. See tons of beautiful maps and original articles about his team’s findings here.

AI-proof Jobs
The new mantra in the labor market is that robots and artificial intelligence are going to take over everything. But for those who don’t want to work in artificial intelligence or robotics, there are some “robot-proof” careers, at least for now. According to some experts, they are: creative folks, healthcare practitioners, child care workers, engineers, teachers, human resources executives, and traditionally blue-collar jobs like carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. Read about Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg’s take here.

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