Everything I wish I’d known when raising my first Seed Round

Since founding Encore in September 2014, we’ve raised two rounds of funding that would typically be called “Seed” rounds. The first, a modest round in August 2015, enabled us to make our first hires and begin experimenting with paid user acquisition. The second, which closed this month, will allow us to grow our team further and further accelerate our rapid growth. Raising these rounds took six and three months respectively. The good folks at Entrepreneur First prepared us well for fundraising, in a theoretical sense.

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Facebook: Please Don’t F*ck with Instagram

I have an intense affinity with Instagram. As far as social networks go, the mobile UX i̶s̶ was exceptional, and it’s an app I use regularly throughout the day. Scrolling through my carefully curated feed is a joy: with only one photo occupying the screen at a time, the pace feels relaxed and my attention doesn’t feel like it’s being frayed at the seams. The introduction of ads to Instagram doesn’t actually bother me. They’ve been tasteful, so far. I

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Encore: Musicians On-demand

I’m really, really excited about Encore right now. What started out as “Wouldn’t it be cool if every musician in the world had a profile in one place?” has now become “Tell us which musicians you want and when, we’ll have them booked in minutes.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m still desperately eager to build a global musicians’ network, but the bookings technology we’ve developed is achieving minor miracles. Let me give you three examples: 1. Contrabassoonist needed for Symphony

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Family Dinner Volume 2: Review + Interview with Michael League & Bill Laurance

Being at the UK premiere of Family Dinner 2 felt a lot like being at the midnight screening of the latest Star Wars, only with fewer toy lightsabers and far more thick-rimmed glasses. UK premiere of Snarky Puppy's Family Dinner Volume II tonight! 🐶 🎦 🎥 🎶 🎸 🎺🎻 🎹 #psyched A post shared by James McAulay (@instamcaulay) on Jan 17, 2016 at 12:39pm PST There’s something incredibly exciting about being sat in front of a massive screen with very little idea of what you’re about to experience,

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If you use Gmail, you should be using Streak

I’ve talked to a surprising number of people who have never used or even heard of Streak, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on why it’s awesome. Having Streak is sort of like having Gmail on steroids. It’s actually taken me about a year to start using it properly, but I’m saving so much time now that I am. So, without further ado, and in no particular order: 1. Read receipts That little r is Rapportive, which shows you people's

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How to prepare for a startup at university

University is a wonderful, intense and chaotic period of your life. For that reason, it’s also a fantastic time to prepare for life at a startup, which is often wonderful, intense and chaotic all at once. I built my first startup halfway through university, and now I’m the CEO of Encore, so although most of this post will be about starting your own company from a founder’s perspective, a lot of it also applies to being one of the first employees at a

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Startups, Burnout and Running

Almost exactly a year ago, I joined Entrepreneur First with three intentions: Create a startup Avoid a boring job at all costs Change the music world, somehow The last year has been exhilarating, euphoric, and anything but boring, and I'm so proud of everything we've achieved with Encore so far. That said, startups are fairly fashionable and often glamourised these days, and something people can be reluctant to talk about is how quickly they can become overwhelming, gruelling, and at times, depressing. I've always turned to

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