🌊 Startup Wave: Creator Employees
⚡ Lever: Podcast Power
💵 Recent Deals in Spain: Belvo, Lingokids and more!
🌊 Creator Employees
Distribution is hard and increasingly important because technical moats are (somewhat) receding - partly due to the commoditization of code.
Empower top employees to become creators for your startup. By sharing insights from their own work, they can help:
Reach potential leads organically.
Help you find and hire great employees.
Increase perceived value.
⏳ How we got here
In a nutshell:
Rise of tools and platforms: they are free and easier to use than ever.
Rise of digital persona and marketability: the internet has enabled humans to prove and showcase their skills online - side-projects, consulting engagements, products built, content created, you name it.
Increase in the need for human connection: with a big chunk of human time now being spent online, it can sometimes lead to a sense of depersonalisation - particularly when passively consuming content instead of creating or engaging in meaningful connections. There’s a need to bring back human social connection - in all of its forms, online and offline.
🏄 Why you should ride it
Before we dive into why you should ride it, a quick disclaimer - not everyone can or should be a creator. IMHO there’s skill involved in identifying who has the potential to become a great employee creator, and should satisfy certain conditions:
Trust: that they won’t misstep / hurt the company’s reputation.
Performance: that what they preach is legitimate, backed by performance.
That being said - here are a few reasons why its a win-win to encourage top employees to become creators:
Employee thought-leadership: building in public and/or sharing valuable insights can signal “expertise”, which could land you:
Access to a wider top-of-the-funnel: through both physical & online events.
Access new networks - including potential hires, investors, mentors etc.
Top employee retention: an employee that has a creative outlet and is being recognized by a given community for their contribution / help is likely a more meaningfully connected and happier employee. It can also give them a broader sense of purpose and increase their financial independence (so they can tell you what they really think without being as scared of getting fired).
Company perceived value: both prospective hires and potential investors do due diligence on startups - with varying degrees of intensity. Some use Glassdoor, others crawl through publications, Linkedin and Twitter feeds, you get the idea. Having employees creating valuable content and helping others as they go can leave a trail of positive feedback and/or perceived expertise that can enhance your startup’s reputation.
Fundraise, faster: As Lenny Rachitsky says “When raising money, investors are increasingly looking for your unique distribution advantage—how you get to your target market more cheaply and quickly than your competition.”
A bigger microphone: instead of pushing product and marketing updates through one channel, your creator employees - and their close circle of friends and supporters - can help generate a snowball effect around your messaging. This gives you a bigger lever around distribution.
An epic hiring tool: people want to join exciting projects. The more people raving about their learning experience at your startup, the better / faster leads you can potentially land.
🚀 My favorites
Lead by example
Whatever is created needs to be authentic. Anything fake will be very cringe.
Build a culture that encourages top employees to create.
Give them the tools and training to become creators.
Get your CMO / Marketing department involved to share best practices.
If you set boundaries - educate your employees as of why some lines are better left uncrossed, and get their buy-in before enforcing them.
Avoid herd mentality - don’t mistake encouraging employees to become creators with “hey, looks like everyone around me is doing this content thing so I guess I’ll throw some money at marketing to push this”
You can acquihire talent that already know how to build community and will inspire others to do the same.
⚡ Podcast Power
Podcasts are an incredible source of insights. My Top 5:
Here’s a list with some of the most upvoted startup podcasts from a tweet I made a while ago targeted to a Spanish audience:
💵 Recent Deals in Spain
You love startups and want to enjoy a Spanish lifestyle? Come join the Spanish startup ecosystem. Here’s a list of recently funded startups:
Belvo (fintech) raised 35M
Lingokids (edtech) raised 33M
Cooltra (mobility) raised 20M
Insurama (Insurance) raised 5M
Fracctal (Maintenance management software) raised 4.3M
Heura (foodtech) raised 4M
Perfecta Energia (Solar energy) raised 3.5M
Energy Solar Tech raised 2M
Smileat (baby food) raised 1.8M
Cuyna (dark kitchens) raised 1.5M
Jump into reality (VR) raised 1M
Fuell (Fintech) raised 1M
Payflow (employee benefits) raised 1M
LavanApp (dry-cleaning services) raised 700K
Watchity (streaming) raised 500K
Kleta (bycicle renting) raised 400K
Vitaance (insuretech) raised 350K
Copernic (virtual events) raised 350K
Harbest Market (food marketplace) raised 250K
Vegafinity (vegan food) raised 200K