The No Cap Newsletter (002)

A bi-weekly newsletter ran by the RippleX Fellowship, covering key program learnings, industry news, and fellow spotlights. Authored by Turja Chowdhury (Cohort #9).

Welcome to Edition 002 of the No Cap Newsletter! We’ll cover industry news, key program learnings, and of course, spotlight a RippleX Fellow doing awesome things!

This week, we launched two new websites. Laced up, fresh new look, and ready to ball out this season. Let us know what you think!


Understanding Markets

The start of any puzzle is always to find the first piece. As you maneuver through the rest, you’ll encounter countless similar pieces, but there are only certain ones that will fit. You’ll get fixated on finishing one corner, but you’ll soon realize that the bigger picture will give you everything you need to solve exactly what you’re looking to do.

When it comes to building out a company, it can be a similar approach. That first piece is the problem you’re trying to solve and that big picture is the market with customers eager for your product. But understanding product-market fit isn’t as easy as it may seem.

Most of the time, it’s very hard to calculate the true demand for a specific product. The only way is to prove customer demand, or willingness to adopt a new way of doing things. In the market analysis, the majority of the time is spent on assessing the market dynamic. This means understanding:

  • Pain points of the customer

  • How they like to buy things

  • What their decision-making process looks like

  • What options are available to solve their problems

  • How they measure ROI on any new tools they use

Pairing this with identifying the problem size and how many people or companies face this problem gives you a good gauge of the market size and dynamic. Getting things right on the first try is always tough and as a matter of fact, many of the big techs that we know today were able to land into their product-market fit through a pivot.

Slack started as a gaming company called Tiny Speck and that product didn’t work out. While building their game, they had developed an in-house messaging platform because they were tired of communicating over email and text. The ending to their story was a $27 billion acquisition by Salesforce.

Shopify or originally known as SnowDevil was founded back in 2004 with the goal to sell snowboards online. With the lack of software available to sell their product, they developed an in-house platform to bridge this gap and sell directly to consumers. They now have a market valuation of just over $200 billion.


Let’s Dive into the Industry

Venture capital funding is oftentimes hard to keep up with. Getting started in this new space can feel like an endless loop navigating through new startups and technologies, but it can always be traced back to the capital. If you were to ask me - numbers can help paint a much clearer picture. Here are three great startups making noise in their respected field.

Big Baller Funding

  • Deel: Remote hiring has undoubtedly become the norm among many companies and San-Francisco-based startup Deel has been able to profit tremendously. It has raised $425 million in Series D at a $5.5 billion valuation. The crazy part? This new funding comes after raising $156 million six months earlier this year. Read more.

Rising Star

  • Space Perspective: If you had $125,000 lying around, would you travel to the stratosphere on a capsule attached to a large balloon? Space Perspective aims to join the space tourism industry after raising $40 million in Series A. Read more.

Kick Starter

  • Hotglue: For developers, the integration with business applications like Salesforce, QuickBooks or HubSpot provides tons of benefits to access meaningful data, but the process can come with quite a few challenges. Hotglue, an early-stage startup has raised $1.5 million in Seed funding to provide developers with an embedded solution to make this step in development smooth. Read more.


Fellow Spotlight

Kaito Cunningham - Co-Founder & CEO at Utopia Labs

Interested in learning more about DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations)? How are they able to integrate into our societies? Will they be able to scale up to their potential?

We’re thrilled to introduce Kaito Cunningham from Cohort #5 building out an awesome startup that paves the solution to all the questions above. They’ve raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by Kindred Ventures. Not to mention - this just took place earlier this month!

DAOs revolve around Web 3.0 as they break down the barriers for access and collaboration providing “member-owned communities [to be developed] without centralized leadership”. By recognizing the potential for DAOs to revolutionize human coordination, Utopia Labs aims to build the infrastructure to support the scale. Whether it’s a small organization or a large corporation, the platform will provide a modern system for managing + automating contributor payments, expenses, and reporting for the DAO.

Want to learn more? Take a peek into their TechCrunch article.

See what Kaito said about his experience with the fellowship program 👇

"The Ripple Fellowship was the most tactical fellowship program I've been a part of in my undergrad. Especially as a solo-founder, the Ripple team acted as an extension to a lot of the key activities for my business - whether it was sharing operations/sales/gtm strategies, reviewing my deck, or just being there to help me out with smaller tasks that were crucial to progressing every single day."

Interested in being featured? Looking to share exciting news? Please reach out to Dom at dom@rippleventures.com.

Authored by Turja Chowdhury (Cohort #9).