Schools are racing to put out more and more startup founders
I like to think of success as being determined on a case-by-case basis. However, as humans, we like to find patterns and rhythms in nature, and for the purposes of this article, in statistics. These schools are pumping out startup founders like there’s a nationwide shortage.
Man, doesn’t it seem like Stanford is good at everything? They lead the dang nation with a whopping 190 graduates founding all sorts of companies between 2010 and 2013. And these ain’t just your grandma’s startups – all of the companies included in that statistic received a first round of venture capital funding. Stanford alumni have given birth to such notable giants as Netflix, PayPal, Snapchat, and even Google. Google, dude. THE Google.
Of course, The University of Texas makes the cut*
With almost one fifth of Stanford’s graduates opting to found something new instead of linking up with an already established company, it’s not surprising that the school boasted 66 startups founded by alumni in 2012.
Harvard weighed in at number four, which you might think is modest. However, in true Harvard style, 34 of their startups were listed in CNN’s top 100. Not to mention that the school raised over 4.1 billion freaking dollars in VC funding. I mean, did you know that Harvard is responsible for nearly one tenth of all student entrepreneurs? Among them are Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Bill Gates (you already know). Yeesh, leave some success for the rest of us, would ya?
Ivy League as a whole is pretty far ahead of the game, with seven of their eight universities landing in the top 16. That’s an impressive ratio, even for a group with such expected prestige.
But hey, let’s give credit where credit is due
Carnegie Mellon and Princeton led the pack in the average amount of venture capital raised by graduates in the first round. Even though Carnegie Mellon was number nine on the graduate list, and Princeton didn’t even make the cut, both of their contributions to the business world are monumental.
If you’re trying to found a startup and you’re looking to ally with some like-minded folks, look no further than the graphic below. These folks know what they’re doing, so here’s to hoping that you do, too.
*Note: UT is being pointed out because The American Genius’ Chief Operating Officer is a longhorn, and therefore has an extreme bias. An awesomely extreme bias.
The graphic above is from WhoIsHostingThis.com.
Peloton seeking to sell 20% of company amid long-standing struggles
(BUSINESS) Peloton has been on the struggling bus (or should we say struggle bike) since its peak in mid-pandemic 2020. Now they’re looking to offload.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In this economy, not even multi-billion dollar workout companies are safe. Despite workout startup Peloton being founded in 2012, Peloton reached peak popularity in 2020, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced all non-essential businesses to shut down, including gyms and fitness centers. Users could connect to classes at their convenience, and complete instructor-led workouts on their stationary bikes or treadmills, all from the comfort of their homes.
At its pandemic peak, Peloton was worth roughly $50 billion dollars, with its stock soaring by 440% in 2020. It’s been a bumpy ride for former Peloton CEO, John Foley. In 2021, the company faced a massive product recall, one for their Tread+ treadmill, which had faulty touch screens that fell onto consumers, and another for their bikes, of which 27,000 models received faulty clip-in pedals which resulted in user injury. Stocks fell from a 52-week high of $129 to just $17. A whopping 90% drop from its all-time high.
In February, Cofounder and CEO John Foley stepped down, following Peloton cutting 2,800 jobs. (In other words, 20% of their staff.) Foley, in conjunction with the board of directors, created a succession plan and appointed former Spotify CEO, Barry McCarthy, to head up the ultra-famous workout company. Peloton is also actively recruiting investors for a 15-20% Hey, Elon, if Twitter doesn’t work out, there’s always Peloton!) A deal like this could bring cash flow, and the change in leadership could re-inspire confidence in consumers.
However, Peloton is still far from out of the woods. Now that the pandemic is kinda sorta dying down, gyms and fitness clubs are back open, and, at least in the United States, we’re not facing imminent shutdowns, fitness fanatics want to workout in person.
They want the experience of going to the gym and working with a personal trainer in person. In addition, their competition replicated the Peloton experience, for a fraction of the cost. (with all of their equipment costing over $1,000, plus a membership that has to be paid monthly to access the classes.) Peloton is no longer growing, and instead faced a $439 million dollar loss, as compared to the $60 million dollar growth the previous year. Unfortunately, the forecast for the next quarter and the close of the fiscal year is no better. Leading some financial experts to believe that Peloton will never bounce back, and certainly won’t make a full recovery. Many investors worry Peloton was “covid stock” aka only ultra-successful as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The future of Peloton remains to be seen. Will they find investors and bounce back? Will they file for bankruptcy and restructure? Or will they join ranks with companies like Blockbuster and fade into obsoleteness?
Proven, clear-cut strategies to keep your company’s operations lean
(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.
The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.
Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.
Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.
Consider remote working
Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.
In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.
Review your systems to find the fat
As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.
Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.
Find the balance
Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.
A well-crafted rejection email will save both your brand and your time
(BUSINESS) Job hunting is exhausting on both sides, and rejection sucks, but crafting a genuine, helpful rejection email can help ease the process for everyone.
Nobody likes to hear “no” for an answer when applying for jobs. But even fewer people like to be left in the dark, wondering what happened.
On the employer side, taking on a new hire is a time-consuming process. And like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get when you put out ads for a position. So once you find the right person for the role, it’s tempting to move along without further ado.
Benn Rosales, the CEO and co-founder of American Genius, offers an example of why that is a very bad call.
Imagine a hypothetical candidate for a job opening at Coca Cola – someone who’s particularly interested in the job, because they grew up as a big Coke fan. If they get no response to their application at all, despite being qualified and sending follow-up emails, their personal opinion of the brand is sure to sour.
“Do you know how much effort and dollars advertising and marketing spent to make [them] a fan over all of those years, and this is how it ends?” Rosales explains. This person has come away from their experience thinking “Bleep you, I’ll have tea.”
To avoid this issue, crafting a warm and helpful rejection email is the perfect place to start. If you need inspiration, the hiring consultants at Dover recently compiled a list of 36 top-quality rejection emails, taken from companies that know how to say “no” gracefully: Apple, Facebook, Google, NPR, and more.
Here’s a few takeaways from that list to keep in mind when constructing a rejection email of your own…
Include details about their resume to show they were duly considered. This shows candidates that their time, interests, and experience are all valued, particularly with candidates who came close to making the cut or have a lot of future promise.
Keep their information on file, and let them know this rejection only means “not right now.” That way, next time you need to make a hire, you will have a handy list of people to call who you know have an interest in working for you and relevant skills.
Provide some feedback, such as common reasons why applicants may not succeed in your particular application process.
And be nice! A lack of courtesy can ruin a person’s impression of your brand, whether they are a customer or not. Keep in mind, that impression can be blasted on social media as well. If your rejections are alienating, you’re sabotaging your business.
Any good business owner knows how much the details matter.
Incorporating an empathetic rejection process is an often-overlooked opportunity to humanize your business and build a positive relationship with your community, particularly when impersonal online applications have become the norm.
And if nothing else, this simple courtesy will prevent your inbox from filling up with circle-backs and follow-up emails once you’ve made your decision.
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