Exploring the Future of Payments at Swell by Ripple

 

Earlier this week, hundreds of seasoned professionals from the blockchain and global payments community gathered in San Francisco for Swell— the second annual conference by our client Ripple. Hosted at the Terra Gallery, the venue was buzzing with innovation as the brightest minds in policy, payments, and fintech discussed the next era of payment technology across the two-day event.

Installations demonstrating facts about cross-border payments and Ripple software decorated the walls. The second floor was home to the main stage where the conference’s sessions took place. Across both days of the conference, a central theme was highlighting blockchain as a global opportunity, as well as exhibiting use cases.

Day one kicked off with a keynote by 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton, who drew parallels between the new wave of blockchain enthusiasm to that of the internet during his presidency. Clinton’s fireside chat with Gene Sperling, National Economic Council Director and National Economic Advisor under Presidents Clinton and Obama, covered concerns around regulation and emerging technology.

Thoughts from the stage:

“To effectively advance in blockchain, we must move on from horse and buggy technology in other areas.” - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton

On top of opening remarks from Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and sessions with speakers from Banco Santander, the IMF, and RiceHadleyGates, the day continued the excitement with the official announcement that xRapid, the Ripple product powering transactions, is commercially available and will go into production with three financial institutions.

Closing out the first day of the event, attendees were treated Monday night with a performance from the Counting Crows.

On day two, the morning began with Ripple Chief Market Strategist Cory Johnson and Celent Senior Analyst Alenka Grealish discussing proprietary research on payments trends. The rest of the day included panels and flash talks on cross-continental crypto regulation and digital asset adoption, and thoughts from futurist leaders in the blockchain space.

Professionals in the audience left the conference with key insights on the future of global payments and blockchain technology. Garlinghouse drove the conference home with a final thought: “Change takes a grassroots movement, and Ripple is driving it.”

Thank you to the Ripple team for having us at #SwellByRipple!

 

Disrupting Trends and Traditions at Disrupt SF 2018

 

When arriving to Disrupt SF at the Moscone West Convention Center, there is absolutely no mistaking where you are. This year, there was a buzz around the venue as a record-breaking 9,000 registrants arrived to learn, network, and promote their latest gadgets and startup ideas. Inside, the whole venue was decorated with the familiar TechCrunch green, from the banners hoisted on the ceiling, to the TC logo for photo ops—even the escalators had a green glow, although it’s debatable whether this was intentional or not.

The first floor was dedicated to their Startup Alley, featuring almost 1,000 startups and exhibitors from all across the world. The second floor had workshops, receptions, and meeting rooms where All Raise hosted an AMA and roundtable for female funders, founders, and executives. The female-focused events had an amazing turnout, with many who came prepared with questions to ask the All Raise investors. Table topics ranged from raising capital and recruiting tactics, to investor/board management.

The third floor was dedicated to the main stage, where our client Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, spoke on Day 1. He was joined by Arrington XRP Capital and TechCrunch Founder, Michael Arrington, to discuss blockchain, banking, and what sets XRP apart from other cryptocurrencies. Brad stated that in order to accelerate the natures of transaction, Ripple needed to take a different approach to appeal to banks and institutions, recognizing that not everyone was willing to give up existing infrastructures to switch over to a new and unknown one.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spoke on Day 2 about taking on the company following former CEO Travis Kalanick’s departure. Dara addressed revamping Uber’s image to become “a positive force for change,” eliminating minority biases in the workplace, Uber’s expanding services, and becoming the company for mobility. In addition, he shared his long-term mission to build Uber’s autonomous fleet so “10 years from now, no one in the audience will own a car.”

More insights shared by Dara from the stage:

  • Monetization will come later, first “you have to be solving for the customers”.

  • “People like choices”. It creates more engagement and breadth of use.

  • “People and computers work together better than as standalones.”

On the last day of the event, entrepreneurs from around the world took the stage for the final round of Startup Battlefield. Over the course of three days, 21 startups gathered at the competition to pitch their company to investors and the audience for the grand prize of $100,000. Concluding with final demos presented in front of a panel of judges, the five finalists included CB Therapeutics, Mira, Forethought AI, Origami Labs, and Unbound. After much deliberation, Forethought AI was named the Startup Battlefield winner of Disrupt SF 2018.

Attendees are loyalists for a reason, some mentioned this was their fourth time at Disrupt. With all the excitement that was going on, there was never a dull moment.

Thank you to the entire planning team at TechCrunch, the volunteers, and everyone who helped put on Disrupt SF. We had a blast and look forward to next year!

 

Hustle Con-nections: A Day of Hustling, Skee Balling, & Networking

 
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Brought to you by cred...connecting thought leaders through speaking & creating environments that inspire.

“What does it mean to hustle?”
We all know & love The Hustle as the daily email with the latest updates on tech, business, and deals deals deals. Yet, very few are aware that Hustle Con, the annual conference, is what started it all back in 2014 to answer the question: what does it mean to hustle?

Hustle & Flow (through the Paramount Theatre)
Last Friday, 2,000 hustling entrepreneurs—non-technical and technical enthusiasts alike—gathered in Oakland’s historic Paramount Theatre to see speakers from companies like BARK, Instacart, Ellevest, MVMT, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK discuss how they got started, how they grew, and what they learned along the way. Mixing old with new, interactive booths from Microsoft, WeWork, Premier Talent, and Salesforce stood throughout the 1930s art-deco halls of the theatre.

Attendees were greeted with breakfast, coffee served by Algorithm Coffee Co., and lively music blaring in the background, packing the theatre with exciting energy. Opening remarks were made by Sam Parr, CEO & Founder of The Hustle, asking everyone to “be kind to each other,” and Lindsey “always rockin’ that amazing orange blazer” Quinn, The Hustle’s Managing Editor.

“How much does it cost to buy an entire Trader Joe’s?” $22,000.
Max Mullen, Co-Founder of Instacart and cred client, shared his hustle story during a fireside chat interview with Sam Parr—like that time he bought every item in Trader Joe’s to create the very first grocery store inventory for the Instacart app. Free samples and coffee never sounded more desirable.  

This isn’t the first Hustle event where a cred speaker has brought their insight to the stage. Other cred speakers including Edith Yeung (500 Startups), Anneka Gupta, (LiveRamp), Tara-Nicholle Nelson (SoulTour), and Sree Menon (Tophatter), have spoken at The Hustle’s 2X programs earlier this year in San Francisco. Tara-Nicholle Nelson is a top 50 finalist for The Hustle’s Woman of the Year.

friday shower thoughts from the stage:

“If you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll push through and be tenacious. If you’re not passionate, you’ll give up.”
-Max Mullen, Co-Founder, Instacart

“I couldn’t get to that next stepping stone without having that experience of failure and falling flat on my face.”
-Brian Scudamore, Founder, 1-800-GOT-JUNK

“Entrepreneurs typically do a terrible job of taking care of their own financial futures...Remember to invest in your future too.”
-Lisa Stone, Chief Strategy Officer, Ellevest

We didn’t only eat donuts...
The cred team also volunteered this year at the event, continuing our “fangirl”—yet mostly professional—relationship with The Hustle Team. We helped with guiding attendees, displaying food, and bringing leftovers to St. Vincent de Paul, a shelter a few blocks from the theater. On top of seeing our clients on stage, we had a great time being a part of the event and helping our friends at The Hustle.

See you at the next Hustle event!

-Abrisham “overthinking this signature” Khosravyani

Youth Marketing Strategy SFO: Catching Up with The Future of Marketing

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Following the success of events in London, Berlin, and New York, Voxburner brought their Youth Marketing Strategy summit to San Francisco for the first time on June 12 at Fort Mason’s Gallery 308. YMS offers insights that reflect the latest trends and hottest topics in the youth marketing industry. We attended to see our speakers from Tophatter and Greenbrier and hear what’s driving the behaviors of GenZ and how brands and agencies can do a better job of meeting the youth market where they are. Here’s what we learned.

CEOs, VPs and Founders shared their thoughts on current marketing opportunities and challenges and why young people are so important to their organizations:

  • “These issues that are polarizing to older demographics are not to younger ones. Be a human, that’s what these young consumers want. Staying silent is not a long term strategy.” - Meredith Ferguson, DoSomething Strategic

  • “We know that most young consumers, don’t read the New York Times or watch Bloomberg Tech. Surprisingly, most younger consumers get their news from local news websites. We need to figure out how to meet them where they are vs. trying to get a story in a top tier.” - Lane Kasselman, Greenbrier

  • “We have to think very carefully about what we do. I encourage our company to act as a media/publishing company and think about planning every 3 hours vs. every 3 months.” - Livio Bisterzo, HIPPEAS

25-year-old Steve Bartlett of Social Chain helped us understand How to Avoid Becoming Completely Irrelevant in 2018 and the power of working with micro-influencers:

  • “Most people are creating things from the perspective that people care. The only thing people really care about is what I can do for them . . . you are not a marketer, you are a publisher.”

  • Personalization is the way to turn everyone into an influencer (ex. people sharing photos of their names spelled wrong on Starbuck cups)

  • Where is the opportunity? Podcasting, free reach on LinkedIn because they haven’t figured out their algorithm yet, music.ly, Twitch, and Facebook Groups.

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During The Kids That Are Changing the World panel,  the audience had a chance to ask ambitious youth what they want from their brand relationships. Authenticity, relatability and transparency were key:

  • “GenZ grew up on social and smartphones and can detect BS much faster than other generations. Brands need to take this into account.” - Tiffany Zhong, Zebra Intelligence

  • “No-one really gives a shit about you and what you’re doing, what they do care about is the content you're building out and what they can do with that. It’s all about trying to create content where, after people watch it, they feel like they’re walking away with something.” - Mehak Vohra, Jamocha Media

The first panel after lunch and a 10-minute guided meditation brought together speakers from brands TOMS, Casetify, Par en Par, and Tophatter to discuss The Future of Retail:

  • “Instant gratification is what we see shoppers wanting, and snackability. In a world where our attention spans are shorter than goldfish, you have to bump the adrenaline up quickly." - Malcolm Scovil, Tophatter

  • “It should be a given in your business model that you’re doing good, or at least doing no harm in your process of creating.” - Laura Choi, Par en Par

Ben Harms of Archrival gave an engaging talk on The State of Youth Culture and Shifting Trends. Key insights included:

  • Youth are compelled to find and follow their personal passions to build up a life resume of experiences.

  • GenZ is the most self-reliant generation yet. They know how to find the answer. 72% want to start a business.

  • “This generation has blown open the world of acceptance. The more unique and individual you are, the more oddly normal you are.”

  • “Girl Power” is an outdated mantra. In Z’s minds, the gender paradigm has already shifted and it’s up to us to catch up.

  • 82% of GenZ said they’d rather trail blaze than follow traditional paths.

  • “The idea of building loyalty among this generation is one of the most elusive things. They’re incredibly loyal - but that definition is changing. Youth are loyal to creativity and innovation. Brands must constantly push themselves to keep favor.”

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Event Spotlight: The Startup Conference 2018

 
 

The Startup Conference took place on May 17th in Redwood City. This event gave many startups and founders the opportunity to soak up knowledge that will give them the tools to succeed. The energy was electric and there were rarely any moments where people weren’t laughing, asking questions, or networking. Throughout the day, the audience sat at the edge of their seats, listening with hunger in their eyes. Three cred clients spoke at this event - Lattice, Venrock, and Sharethrough. They each shared insightful wisdom with the crowd.

Jack Altman from Lattice took the stage amongst the first set of speakers, offering insight on the true struggles founders face. He noted that fundraising isn’t very natural, but there are a lot of resources online available for people following the same path. He reminded the audience that although asking for funding is tedious, ultimately, it’s a funnel to find out which investors really align with your company’s vision. 

Ethan Batraski of Venrock took the stage with Soma Somasegar of Madrona Venture Group, Varun Jain of Qualcomm Ventures, and Martin Stroka of F50 for the panel of VCs talking about what makes a killer pitch that piques the interest of investors. Ethan, along with others, agreed that out of the four requisites - market, team, technology, and ability to execute (operational excellence) - investors would rather put their money in a startup that has the right team and market fit. Varun agreed that it would be ridiculous for investors to ever invest in a startup with a founder who has no business acumen. 

Sharethrough’s Rob Fan took on the Scaling & User Acquisition panel. He spoke with purpose, informing the crowd that who you hire depends on who your consumers are. Rob shared the reason why companies can scale quickly is because they invest in their customer support early on. He also noted that utilizing word-of-mouth is an early-stage company’s best friend.

The event ended with 3 startups, who were chosen by the audience, pitching in front of investors. The startups that pitch are likely to gain coverage for their ideas and meet influential decision-makers. If you are an early stage startup looking for investors, this event happens every May in Redwood City- see you there next year!
 

Event Spotlight: SaaStr Annual 2018

 
 

 

Last week the cred team had the opportunity to attend one of our collective favorite conferences: SaaStr Annual 2018. As one of the top conferences in SaaS globally (we ranked it in our Top 10 of 2017 in case you missed it), we loved being able to see our clients in action. SaaStr Annual is a massive convention, bringing together people across the spectrum in software as a service from start-ups, to investors, to unicorns such as Hubspot, Basecamp, and Medallia.

We were proud to have a solid line-up of cred clients present to share their insights on investing, building companies, and using SaaS. Some of our favorites included our client Joanne Chen of Foundation Capital, who moderated an invigorating talk to an absolutely packed room around “How do SaaS Companies Build Differentiated Assets in this New World of AI.” We also loved learning from our very own Mike McDerment, CEO of Freshbooks, who discussed his team’s “Unusual Approach to Replatforming” in a talk called “Split Testing Companies.”

An attendee favorite of SaaStr was the opportunity to set up “braindates.” Start-ups could meet with VCs or other companies excited about SaaS. It was an exuberant environment for idea-sharing. One of our personal favorite activities was the Yappy Hour on the first two nights. Attendees could unwind and play with puppies courtesy of Family Dog Rescue.

We are looking forward to SaaStr 2019 and continuing to place our innovative clients at this event!

Want to speak at events like SaaStr Annual? Reach out at hello@credpr.com! 

 

 

Event Spotlight: Sales 3.0 Conference

On September 18th and 19th, one of today’s leading sales leadership events, the Sales 3.0 Conference, will be held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Sales 3.0 addresses all aspects of the sales organization. Speakers will address leadership insights, daily sales management challenges, alignment with marketing, sales enablement, sales strategy and execution, customer management, coaching sales reps, the latest industry research on sales effectiveness, and much more.

Between the keynotes and breakout sessions, there's abundant opportunity for networking and demos of the latest sales tech. The event concludes with a complimentary cocktail reception allowing speakers, sponsors, and attendees to get together and mingle.

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Register for the event here, using SPEAKERV to receive 50% off your registration price.

What’s To Come In Digital Marketing? cred Clients Share Their Answers!

Last night, cred and The Commonwealth Club hosted an expert panel discussing what’s to come in the future of digital marketing. Panelists included Ming B. Wu, CRO of MightyHive, Nikesh Desai, CEO of InvestingChannel, Mason Garrity, VP Strategy of 3QDigital, while CPO of LiveRamp, Anneka Gupta, moderated the conversation.

What were the hot topics? The evening’s conversation circled around the past, present and future of marketing, issues around data privacy/intent, and the changing role of the CMO. The panelists agreed that data has become more vital in the conversation: from targeting audiences and understanding their mindsets, to driving content creation itself.

Who are the ones to watch? While Google and Facebook are dominating the space, panelists agreed that Amazon is a key player to watch. “Amazon is very well positioned; if you think about all the data they have, they have a ton of different ad formats they can use. They’re one of the companies that can challenge Google in the search domain as 50% of commercial searches are happening on Amazon.” -  Mason Garrity, VP Strategy of 3QDigital

What’s to come in the next 5 years? Machine learning will likely continue to bombard the market with advancements. As it becomes more integrated, panelists agreed we’ll see marketing become more predictive, rather than reactive, with more ads seamlessly integrated to enhance the consumer experience. Younger generations will also likely grow up interacting with other mediums and realities, so marketers will need to keep a watchful eye on AR/VR to connect with consumers wherever they are.

The panel in its entirety is now available for download via The Commonwealth National Podcast.