Hi everyone - after our last quarterly update we received several introductions to potential DQ founders, for which we're extremely grateful. To date, referrals have been our number-one source of founders. In fact, one of the people you introduced last quarter is now part-way through our founder programme, so special thanks to Alex for that!
If you know a professional who's dying to work on their startup idea but doesn't know where to begin (or can't imagine life without a salary) please point them our way. For any intro's that lead to a new venture we'll send you something tasty as a small token of our appreciation.
In this update
- DQ business report
- Investing: why James told his mum to buy gold
- Recommended reads
- Our best-performing articles and posts
DQ business report
We're now up to 11 ventures, 7 of which are live, 6 revenue-generating, 2 ~profitable, and 6 have raised some kind of external funding. We're getting great feedback from our founders (NPS will soon become one of our core metrics) and we're preparing to accelerate by a) increasing our marketing efforts and b) automating our more manual processes. Should be an interesting next-12 months!
Here are some highlights:
- We're now 4! The three of us cofounders hired a fourth musketeer in the form of Leanne Beesley, who's amazing. If you haven't read Leanne's story, check it out here.
- Approximately half of our founder programme is now live on our proprietary "founder portal". This is a key step towards being able to scale efficiently and opens up more opportunities, such as expanding into new markets or licensing our IP.
- We receive inbound enquiries from wannabe founders every week. This week alone we've received six solid founder applications. This includes our first ever enquiries via our new website form, which went live on Monday (🎉), plus two tentative enquiries via LinkedIn (as well as myriad more that weren't suitable). We also received our third request to date from someone who wants to establish DQventures in Africa!
- On that front, nearly all of our leads are inbound, which is why we write so much blog content and bombard LinkedIn with posts. Here's how it's working:
- We use James's personal profile, which we think is more engaging than a company profile (plus he already had 3,000 "followers"). In 12 months that number has grown to 17,000 (>500%).
- When we started this we received no inbound leads whatsoever but now we receive more than 30 leads every month (we're working out what we consider "quality leads", as that will be more meaningful than total leads).
- Our content strategy is to share information that will:
- Help founders avoid mistakes we've made ourselves in the past; or
- Help wannabe founders realise that actually the startup journey isn't for them; or
- Help wannabe founders decide to de-risk their startup by launching it with DQventures, rather than going it alone (you can read more about our content strategy here).
- An unexpected bi-product of this public posting is interest from investors. This week we've already received two more investor enquiries (in addition to the 8 investors we're already talking to).
- In our last update we reported that DealerDoc had hit their investment target of £200K in the UK. Well, that number turned out to be £324K - a significant increase. Congrats to Richard and team for being oversubscribed, especially in this market.
- WeNetwork continues to operate profitably, and is expanding both in terms of team size and geographical locations. More on that to come, but there are some exciting developments underway.
- BlueMongoose, our tenth portfolio company and official tech partner, is also close to profitable and adding huge value across the DQ portfolio. As well as helping entrepreneurs launch minimum viable products (MVPs), Toby and team also work with established companies, helping them experiment with new features and functionality before investing in-house resources on large scale software projects or integrations.
Investing: why James told his mum to buy gold
Underpinning the price of almost everything humans do, eat, build and use is the price of energy. No matter where you stand on fossil fuels, it's hard to ignore the misalignment between forecast demand and supply of some of our main sources of energy, like oil as shown in this chart from Bloomberg:
Where is that missing energy going to come from? Does that create opportunity for investors? For those of you who like research, check out this deep dive from commodities analysts at Goehring and Rozencwajg. It's pretty impressive and might lead to you wanting to adjust your portfolio!
The world seems divided on where inflation is going but if, like James's mum in the UK, you live in a market where inflation is still ripping (and where recession and FX issues seem likely), it may not be a bad idea to diversify.
Here's an interview with a commodities analyst who makes a fairly compelling argument for buying at least a little bit of gold. We don't know if you should or you shouldn't, but if you're wondering how to get your hands on some and don't fancy keeping it under the bed, James uses a firm called OneGold.
A longer-term view
Although certain equities are still climbing to new heights (e.g. Apple recently broke through the $3 trillion market cap for the first time ever), here are three reasons why you might want to moderate your optimism.
- We loved this 2-minute video on validating your marketing and business with experiments, from Matt Lerner.
- If you know a SaaS founder who's wondering how they can ever sell their company, this guy believes all you have to do is get to $1m ARR.
- This podcast on "generative AI moats in B2B" is way more interesting than it sounds!
- It's an oldie but James is listening to "No Rules Rules" by Netflix founder, Reed Hoffman. Many business books are hard to get through, but this one is hard to put down.
- Leanne is reading Gino Wickman's "Traction" for the third time. It's brilliant for anyone trying to leverage process to create a "business operating system" that scales.
- Arjun recently re-read Jim Collins' barnstorming "Good to Great", which is quite simply a must-read for anyone who runs a business.
- If you're interested in investing and/or global markets, this family office CIO doesn't pull many punches and regularly shares what he's long and short of, as well as why.
- Here's a great post on all the things you need to consider to launch a new product.
Our best performing articles and posts
These are some of our most popular posts of late:
- The pocket guide of essential YC advice.
- How to build a high-performing team.
- How to price SaaS and build a moat in the age of generative-AI (one of James's favourite articles to date, but the socials said, "meh").
- Practical tips for conducting user interviews.
- Everything you need to know about selling a sub-$50m SaaS firm.
- Here's why we love doing business in Singapore.
- Pricing software based on number of seats-versus-value.
- An insider's view on Fractal and the venture studio model.
We really appreciate you reading our content, leaving positive comments and making introductions. Even if you're a lurker, reading in silence, we're grateful!
If you know anyone who would love to launch their own startup if only they could escape their job, please point them here, which explains how we work.
We'll write again in ~3 months.
Have a great summer!