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Houzz raising $400 million at $4 billion valuation


Home improvement platform Houzz continues to grow and is in the process of raising another huge round of funding. The company confirms that it is raising $400 million in new financing, at a valuation that multiple reports peg at around $4 billion.

Founded in 2009, Houzz provides a platform to help users renovate and remodel their homes, as well as providing tools for finding furniture and fixtures they might want to purchase. The company has users all over the world, in markets that include the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark.

It makes money mostly through paid listings for local home professionals and service providers, but has been delving more deeply into direct commerce through the introduction of deep learning and AR products it’s added to its website and mobile apps.houzz

Last fall it introduced a deep learning tool that analyzes home photos added to the site and enables users to search for and purchase comparable products directly from the page. It also added an AR feature to its mobile app that enables users to preview what new pieces of furniture might look like in a certain place in their home.

The newest funding round, which Recode reported is being led by Iconiq, comes on top of more than $200 million that Houzz had raised from investors that include Sequoia, New Enterprise Associates, GGV Capital and others.

Source: Houzz raising $400 million at $4 billion valuation

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Cryptocurrency ICO Education – The Basics

Initial-Coin-Offering-ICO-600x400Over the past few months, there has been an increased focus on cryptocurrency ICOs. These initial coin offerings are a great way for investors to buy into a project at an affordable price. At the same time, the project developers try to raise as much money as possible to finish their creation as soon as possible. It is a well-balanced ecosystem, but a lot of people are still confused about certain ICO aspects. In this series, we will try to address some concerns people still have.


As most people should be familiar with by now, buying into a cryptocurrency ICO is the same as backing a project on Kickstarter or IndieGala. Investors receive a reward for pledging money to the cause, even though not all of these projects may succeed in the end. Unlike traditional crowdfunding campaigns, cryptocurrency ICOs do not accept credit cards or other traditional payment methods. Most projects only accept investments in either Ether or Bitcoin, albeit some projects accept additional currencies and tokens as well.

There is another similarity to cryptocurrency ICOs and crowdfunding projects. It is always of the utmost importance to invest as early as possible. In the case of a cryptocurrency ICO, early investors often received a specific percentage of tokens on top of the regular amount. These bonuses can either be time-based or based on the amount of tokens sold already. As we have seen with a lot of recent ICOs, time to buy in is incredibly limited, though.

Even though these similarities between cryptocurrency ICOs and crowdfunding projects should not be overlooked, that is far as both concepts can be compared. With a crowdfunding project, backers can often get a refund of their money if the project fails to deliver. That is not necessarily the case with a cryptocurrency ICO, although most projects lock funds in a smart contract. By using this technology, it is a lot easier to refund investors if needed, albeit that happens very rarely these days.

Moreover, it is always a good idea to check how many tokens will be generated during a particular cryptocurrency ICO. A lot of projects issue a billion tokens or more, which theoretically makes it impossible for them to gain any major value. That is a common misconception, though, as cryptocurrency ICOs often increase their value a tenfold or more in the first few months. Most of these tokens are quickly listed on exchanges, which means there will be plenty of liquidity as well.

Speaking of the number of tokens being issued, there are two creation models projects can make use of. First of all, there is the static supply option with a predetermined value. This means a fixed number of tokens will be issued which will always be sold at the exact same price. This levels the playing field for both early and “late” investors alike. It is possible this method will be considered less attractive by speculators, since there is no option to buy cheaper coins. Then again, these tokens often see their value appreciate over time just as well as other projects.

Source: Cryptocurrency ICO Education – The Basics

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How does one mentor young people online?

Stephen G. Barr

Stephen G. Barr

Mentor, Advisor, Strategist, Angel Investor, Publisher, CEO

Author & Group Publisher SGB Media Group, Startup America Partnership Member, Microsoft BizSpark Graduate, Member Microsoft Partner Network, Startup Weekend Winning Team Member, Ignite Speaker, Syndicate Lead & Top 4% Ranking on AngelList (company), Accredited Investor Crowdfunder, Fellow Center For Progressive Leadership, Senior Advisor to CEO at, Council Member Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc., Reputation Management Advisor Saivian International, Ltd., Venture Partner CrunchBase, Accredited Investor & Champion StartEngine (Funding Portal), Charter Member Crowdfunding Best Practices…


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Asked on Quora

Stephen G. Barr
Stephen G. Barr, lives in Phoenix, AZ (2001-present)

I’d say try looking for someone who is successful in the fitness industry who may buy or license your app and not worry about a mentor. A mentor is a general career coach that will be with you through many startups/exits. What you need is an advisor with high-level contacts in the fitness industry. Just my opinion.

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7 Ways to Use Yelp to Improve Your Local Business : Social Media Examiner

Are you wondering how to best use Yelp for your business?

If you run a local business like a restaurant, Yelp should be an essential cornerstone of your online presence.

Launched back in 2004, Yelp continues to be the go-to resource for millions of visitors looking for information about local businesses.

Is your business doing all that it can to attract new customers from the ever-growing audience on Yelp?

yelp logo

The Yelp brand—your customers trust it, so your business should embrace it!

Whether you’ve been active on Yelp in the past or you’re starting a new business, this article will bring you up to speed on the Yelp of today and offer seven ways your business can improve its presence on Yelp.

Source: 7 Ways to Use Yelp to Improve Your Local Business : Social Media Examiner

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How to Respond to an RFP – Request for Proposal: The Guide to Success

business-proposal-templateProposal (pro·pos·al [pruh-poh-zuhl]) noun: the act of offering or suggesting something for acceptance, adopting or performance.

A Chinese philosopher wisely once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” For consultants and small firms, that step is often writing a proposal. As an independent consultant, you will inevitably hear the words, “send me a proposal.” However, the real results come in mastering the details of how and when to deliver yours to a potential client.

Many professionals make the mistake of equating proposal activity with sales activity. Proposal development is not a give-away activity, but rather a strategic tool to gain business. It is far better to deliver one proposal a month that gains business than to develop five without a single win.

Like resumes, winning proposals must be grammatically corrected, spell-checked and visually appealing. But more importantly, they must specifically address your prospect’s needs and offer a clear solution tailored to your potential client. And also like resumes, the real work of your proposal happens before you ever begin writing it.

In this 10-page, downloadable guide, we’ll take you through how to write a proposal step-by-step. You will learn how to gather the right information before you ever begin writing so that you can deliver a targeted, relevant proposal. You will also learn how to gain the competitive advantage by asking the right questions and avoid time-wasting “requests for information,” or “RFI’s,” disguised as opportunities.

Source: How to Respond to an RFP – Request for Proposal: The Guide to Success

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