Progress Update as of May 5, 2017

I am excited to write a quick update on our progress at InsightStudios. We are on to something very big, and it's working! Here's the latest news and update on our progress.

Fundraising

As you know, we are raising $550K in a seed round for our startup studio. These funds will be used to produce the first two series-A-ready startups. For this round only, accredited investors will get equity in 124 startups over the next 10-20 years. Our ticket price is only $5k.  

I've structured the deal this way so that we can expand the angel investor market. I've observed a lot of people want to invest in technology startups, but they don't have enough money to achieve diversification. Investing $25K in 30 startups, costs $750K, which is more than most potential angel investors can put at risk.

Because we are keeping the Original Studio Investors on the cap table forever, investors will get equity in 124 startups for just $5K. It's a highly-disruptive offer and we are excited to do it. Our raise is a classic case of disruptive innovation, as defined by Clay Christensen, my favorite Harvard Business School professor.

Our strategy is working! Checks started coming in a few weeks ago. Words cannot express how satisfying it is when investors agree to back what you are doing. As an entrepreneur, you come up with this crazy plan to change the world. In the beginning, you're not sure anyone will follow or support you. When I pitched InsightStudios at the Lake Forest Angel Group meeting started by my good friend an life-long entrepreneur Chris Sorensen, I thought I might be laughed off the stage. Instead, a lot of people expressed interest.

  • We now have over 55 people who have expressed interest and are looking at the deal. We are 30% committed after just a few weeks and limited marketing.
     
  • We are bringing in a new advisor to help us in the Bay Area to increase our average check size. This awesomely connected person has a 70% success rate in closing seed rounds in the Silicon Valley. I will be announcing the deal soon. 
     
  • Several Bay Area entrepreneurs and investors have agreed to partner with us or our portfolio companies. My recent trip was so productive I decided to spend at least one week a month in the Bay Area. 
     
  • We are researching a crowdfunding campaign to help complete the raise and further expand the angel market. Several non-accredited investors have expressed interest in investing. As a result, we are looking at SeedInvest and a few other crowdfunding platforms so non-accredited investors can get in on the deal. More on this later.

Paul, Vladimir and I are externally grateful for the interest at support we've received so far. 

Portfolio Projects

Here's the latest news on the exciting projects in our pipeline.

  • FounderSensei now has paying customers! I've created FounderSensei as a startup school to teach entrepreneurs how to build profitable startups. Initially, it was a give back to the startup community. The program was so successful a decided to add a business model to it a few weeks ago. Our Founder's Workshop has acquired our first paying customers. They are happy with the service and have continued their subscriptions for three months and counting. Our customers pay $200/month for the Workshop. We are testing a price increase based on feedback so far.

  • The Founder's Workbench is coming into focus. The Founder's Workbench is our software platform which contains instructional content, tools for designing and running experiments, and opportunities to earn access to mentors and investors. Our pricing hypothesis is currently $199 to sign up and $29 per month. We are expecting to have a beta ready in the coming weeks. 

  • Paul and I have been talking to entrepreneurs in the Midwest and on the West Coast and have learned a ton about what entrepreneurs value most. We've learned a lot about different types of entrepreneurs and how their problems and needs vary is they progress through the startup process. We've uncovered a massive, underserved market that looks like a huge opportunity to us. Our next step is to test some of the solution ideas we have using our proprietary validation process, Insight-Driven Iteration. There are a lot of people helping entrepreneurs, but what we've seen so far has validated the unique and powerful value proposition that FounderSensei provides.
     
  • We've picked up a new partner for our AI Platform and are pursuing Data-As-A-Service applications for our technology in middle-market restaurant chains. I met the amazing Founders at Acumen AI and the synergies were immediately obvious. Laura Cummings and Emily Rhodes are twin sisters with the perfect contacts and experience selling data-driven personalization to established companies. I call them the Wonder Twins! We are pitching $100K opportunities right now and are getting valuable feedback from customers to help refine our solution. 
     
  • ComeWith clickable prototype is complete. Our process starts with a meaningful problem that we've experienced first hand. ComeWith is a great example of this. I recently went through a divorce and moved to San Francisco. As my life changed significantly, I found it difficult to find people to hang out with. My friends are all married and I was no longer in the "married couple" social circle. I needed to create a new social circle of friends. I tried solving this problem with Facebook, Twitter, Meetup and other social apps. Nothing worked. ComeWith is the answer. We are really excited about this opportunity, but are in the very early stages. Still, tremendous progress has been made as I've interviewed over 50 people about friendship, leisure activities and loneliness. I think this is a $1BN idea. 

If you are still considering an investment, please contact me to arrange a quick call or meeting to address any questions you have about the opportunity. If you are not an accredited investor, stay tuned as we might have a solution coming for you soon. 

You really don't want to miss out on this one. We think InsightStudios will be worth $3.7 billion. More importantly, we are bringing tremendous joy into the world by solving real problems that people care about. 

With gratitude,

Dave Linhardt
Founder & CEO