Jimmy Odom and his co-founders at WeDeliver, a same-day delivery platform, had a lot going for them when they launched in 2013. The buzzed-about Chicago venture won the local Startup Weekend and quickly grew to provide deliveries for 100 area companies. WeDeliver also launched Locally, a stand-alone app that allowed businesses to sell products online for same-day delivery.
But in June of this year, WeDeliver announced it was being acquired by California-based Deliv, a similar but larger service that crowdsources its drivers. The outcome was in part due to a failed funding round—money the company expected that never quite materialized.
“We always wanted to build a national delivery company, but we just didn’t have the capacity,” Odom says. “Our angel investors believed in us, but angel investors cannot fund a company that should be venture-backed.If you can’t get into the VC world, it’s a chasm where you perish.”
We Deliver was on the brink of securing Series A funding last year with a Chicago VC, Odom claims, when another local fund made a sizable investment in a similar company elsewhere in the U.S. “We were looking at a $2 million round,” Odom says. “We were practically counting the money, because the meetings were going so well. We met all the partners; they loved our growth, our trajectory, our plans for the future. But when they heard about this other fund, they wanted to know why they chose to invest in another delivery company over one that was right in their own backyard.”
That led to some awkward conversations. “We tried to explain that we were a different model, but the truth is that the news hit us from out of left field. We spent so much time focusing on this one VC and didn’t diversify like we should have,” he says. “It was easier for them to pass and move on to another deal with a company they felt was completely clean.”
Even if the papers are signed and the champagne has been poured, a funded entrepreneur’s balance sheet doesn’t necessarily go from red to black. Checks can fail to materialize for a host of reasons.
Virginia Barnett, co-founder and CEO of Gr8Code, which offered coding boot camps in Florida, says a lack of due diligence before partnering with an investor led to the demise of her business. She’s suing Steven Brickner, his investment fund and her former co-founders, claiming improper transfer of assets and failure to carry out their duties to the company.
In the suit, filed in January in Florida, Barnett claims that Brickner failed to provide $100,000 in seed money— part of $5.4 million in promised venture capital—and ousted her from management. A joint press release about the partnership went out in advance of the deal being finalized, a move Barnett says was “too soon.”
(Brickner calls Barnett’s claims “hogwash,” saying the “promise of $100,000 was derived from her saying she had students, but she did not.” He claims Barnett issued the press release early because she “wanted to make a big splash.”)
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
WE KNOW LESS THAN WE THINK
And that’s a good thing! The greatest lesson from the pandemic is this: Possibilities are endless.
READY FOR A BIG RETURN
The end of the pandemic is in sight, and many franchises are anticipating an explosion in business. Leaders at four franchises share how their brands are working overtime to prepare for the rush and win back coveted business.
DESKS THAT KILL ZOOM FATIGUE?
Another workday at home getting you down? A new line of desks will help you up— and help you maintain focus.
ONE RESTAURANT, EIGHT BRANDS
To boost sales during the pandemic, the founders of Dog Haus flooded the delivery apps with virtual restaurants that operate out of existing franchise kitchens. They’ve been so valuable that they’re now here to stay.
MAKING BIG CHANGES IN TIMES OF BIG CHANGE (OR WHY AMAZON CREATED THE KINDLE)
Entrepreneurs are defined by how they adapt during crises. In this exclusive excerpt from their book Working Backwards, longtime Amazon execs Colin Bryar and Bill Carr reveal how the company dealt with massive disruption…and transformed itself as a result.
The year 2021 may feel uncertain, but set your expectations high anyway. Doing so will become your guiding force.
THE TIME FOR REINVENTION IS NOW
Our world has changed. As people—and as entrepreneurs—we should change, too. Follow these three steps to find new opportunities and capture them with success.
HIS WORST FIVE YEARS WERE HIS LIFE'S BEST GIFT
What is it like to build a hit business and then lose all control? Oded Brenner, the founder of Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man has a lot to say about that.
HOW TO TAKE DOWN GOLIATH
The biggest companies can still be taken down by the smallest startups. Here are four strategies disruptors use to fight their way up.
THE RISE OF THE SMART BOARD
Miss having in-person meetings in front of whiteboards? Now you can replicate them remotely.
Back, front and center
Dial in your Golden Era look with Damien Patrick’s old-school back burner.
I LIKE TO EAT SEA FOOD —SUBRAMANIAM BADRINATH
Name: Subramaniam Badrinath , Born: August 30, 1980, Place of Birth: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Playing Role: Middle-order batsman, Playing Style: Right Hand Batsman, Bowling Style: Right-arm off-break
SEA Demonstrates K-SHAPE RECOVER and Emergence of New Investment Trends
The South East Asia (SEA) region has demonstrated its resilience yet again in the wake of the global shock following the outbreak of the pandemic. White Star Capital (an investment firm) in early 2020 had predicted that, SEA would be the No.1 region for VC investment this decade, following four unicorns being added two years ago.
VC Funding Still A Tall Order For Women Founders
Lack of support through VC funding is a major impediment to progress of women entrepreneurs compared to their male counterparts
2020: A Big Deal Year
PE and VCs deployed $47.5 billion in Indian companies while exits hit a five-year low at $6 billion
A TOUGH ROAD AHEAD
ELECTION RESULTS SINCE 2019 SEEM TO SUGGEST THE DMK HAS AN EDGE. BUT PARTY CHIEF M.K. STALIN IS YET TO CONSOLIDATE THE GAINS
E for efficiency
While some manufacturers desert the series due to regulation changes, Mahindra Racing sees Formula E as a challenge well worth accepting
Support for R&D
Filipinos have been taking virgin coconut oil for over a decade as a health supplement. It took a killer pandemic, however, for scientists to subject VCO to an intensive formal study on its medicinal properties. With its high level of lauric acid, VCO has been credited for eliminating COVID among inmates in at least one city jail.
Bootstrap Your Business
Bootstrapping: A term used to refer to the process of using only existing resources, such as your own personal savings, personal computing equipment, or garage space, to start and grow a company.
The Way We Live
VCDC CEO Victor Consunji touches on how to balance convenience with cost efficiency, as well as on how to find a sense of home regardless of where we are located By MJ Jose