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How did Thumbtack win the on-demand services market?

Earlier today, the services marketplace Thumbtack held a small conference for 300 of its best gig economy workers at an event space in San Francisco. For the nearly ten-year-old company the event was designed to introduce some new features and a redesign of its brand that had softly launched earlier in the week. On hand, in addition to the services professionals who’d paid their way from locations across the U.S. were the company’s top executives. It’s the latest step in the long journey that Thumbtack took to become one of the last companies standing with a consumer facing marketplace for services. Back in 2008, as the global financial crisis was only just beginning to tear at the fabric of the U.S. economy, entrepreneurs at companies like Thumbtack andTaskRabbit were already hard at work...

Lessons from cybersecurity exits

Dear F0und3r: What a month this has been for cybersecurity! One unicorn IPO and two nice acquisitions – Zscaler’s great debut on wall street,  a $300 million acquisition of Evident.io by Palo Alto Networks and a $350 million acquisition of Phantom Cyber by Splunk has gotten all of us excited. Word on the street is that in each of those exits, the founders took home ~30% to 40% of the proceeds. Which is not bad for ~ 4 /5 years of work. They can finally afford to buy two bedroom homes in Silicon Valley. Evident.IO Investment Rounds and Return estimates Date Select Investors Round Size Pre Post Dilution Estimated Returns / Multiple of Invested Capital Sep 2013 True Ventures $1.5m $5.25m $6.75 m 22% 44X Nov 2014 Bain Capital $9.8 m $18.1m $28.0 m 35% 10.7X Apr 2016 Venrock $15.7 m $35.0 m $50...

Amazon isn’t to blame for the Postal Service’s woes, but it will need to innovate to survive

At the heart of our current President’s criticism is a claim that Amazon is making a mint and leaving a *failing* U.S. Postal Service holding the bag. It’s not a new critique from the Twitterer-in-Chief, but it is one that’s worth unpacking given the crippling effect technologies have had on the USPS — where email is even more reliable than a carrier undeterred by “snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night.“ Is it failing? “Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer?” This infantile question was posed by President Trump on Twitter in December 2017. While it’s not clear what exactly prompted Trump’s criticism,  the tweet...