News roundup: an Airbnb for warehouses; Jeff Bezos’s annual shareholder letter; platform for startups
A Startup that Rents Space in Warehouses
Flexe is looking to change the way companies use warehouses to ship products around the country. Their website allows startups and retailers struggling to compete with Amazon to rent space in warehouses that aren’t consistently filled to capacity rather than risk a typical 5-year lease on sales projections. They offer overflow services, online order fulfillment, and are launching overnight delivery services in all their warehouses Monday. Also based in Seattle, they’ve raised $20.8 million, already have 25 percent of Amazon’s warehouse capacity, and are regularly used by companies such as Casper and Toms.
Speed is the Key to Startup Success
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, shares his thoughts on how to create a successful startup. He believes the biggest factor in whether a startup succeeds is speed. Great startups are able to do everything fast, but most importantly, they “blitzscale”—his term for pouring capital into scaling your company’s customer acquisition, market size, etc. as quickly as possible.
Annual Letter to Amazon Shareholders
Jeff Bezos’s 20th letter to shareholders is a unique take on how to create a great career. Fortune magazine discuses the three main themes found in his letter: decisions, disagreement, and information.
Platform Simplifies Startup Process
Waccal has developed a platform that allows entrepreneurs to post pitches, get feedback, and connect with investors. The startup launched last month in Kirkland, and was created by Ashfaq and Anil Mohammed to help founders better manage their time and resources while developing startups.
Patent Dispute Turned Bankruptcy
A U.S. subsidiary of a Berlin-based venture backed startup filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware this last week in an effort to avoid an expensive patent dispute. Searchmetrics patented their intellectual property in Germany, but neglected to secure US patents. Searchmetrics alleges that after their merger negotiations fell through, competitor BrightEdge filed for patents for Searchmetrics’s products and began selling them while simultaneously launching a smear campaign to devalue Searchmetrics. Searchmetrics disputed BrightEdge’s patents and has been locked in an expensive legal battle with BrightEdge for months. Their decision to file for bankruptcy to avoid a prolonged patent fight is discussed more on TechCrunch.