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Inside Founders (Jul 19th, 2019)

1. With a record amount of uninvested capital, private equity firms are increasingly investing in early and seed-stage startups. This inaugural list of 50 "founder-friendly" private equity firms evaluates them for past deals with founder-led businesses, as well as entrepreneurs' experiences. Those firms include Accel-KKR, which focuses on software and IT-enabled businesses; software and service-focused Alpine Investors; and Berkshire Partners out of Massachusetts, which invests across a variety of sectors, including health care and consumer products. Tom Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market, says such firms are doing business with much younger firms than they would have in the past, and are willing to take minority stakes because "they've got to put the money to work." — INC.

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2. In a new roundup of the best cities for startups, Texas and California each have three cities ranked in the top 10 cities with a population of more than a million. Dallas and San Diego took the top two slots in an evaluation that considers startup density, growth, survival and Kickstarter rates, among other metrics. For cities between 500,000 and 1 million populations, Austin, Texas came in first, and also was ranked No. 1 for non-employer growth, a metric that indicates a supportive environment for entrepreneurs. Among under 500,000-population cities, Atlanta came in first, and also had the top rate for tech employment growth. — COMMERCIAL CAFE BLOG

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3. Follow Friday: Sabri Sansoy: @Sansoy

I interviewed Orchanics founder and CEO Sabri Sansoy last week in his garage in Santa Fe, New Mexico, surrounded by a variety of computers and robots the AI-company founder has created over the years as a roboticist. He struck out on his own with Orchanic in order to diversify his work—much of which has been for the film and advertising industries. On Twitter, Sansoy posts recent news I might otherwise miss from the field of robotics (did you know Stanford made a robot dog? I didn't!) His feed also directed me to an actually helpful article explaining machine learning (which I'm pretty sure will continue to come in handy). On Instagram, Sansoy mixes the personal with the professional, but if he attends a robotics conference, count on plenty of documentation.

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4. The 25 startups identified as likely to hit unicorn status this year provide services in the consumer products, technology, enterprise software and security realms. TrueBridge Capital Partners evaluated 150 startups' finances for Forbes magazine's annual list. Chainalysis makes cryptocurrency investigation software so financial institutions can screen customers. Contrast Security develops software that monitors code to help developers identify potential problems. Dave (think David vs. Goliath) tracks spending to help users avoid becoming overdrawn—co-founder and CEO Jason Wilk got the idea after becoming overdrawn himself as a college student and seeing all the complaints about bank overdraft fees on Reddit. — FORBES

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5. Prioritizing software efficacy may sacrifice ethics and privacy concerns, or so the New Yorker hypothesizes in a long-form examination of the recent controversy surrounding email startup Superhuman. — THE NEW YORKER

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6. San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Gordon Mar pulled a potential November ballot measure—the so-called "IPO tax"—that would have raised taxes on stock compensation and was aimed at big tech startups such as Uber, which went public this year; Mar says he plans to try for a similar measure in 2020.  — WALL STREET JOURNAL

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7. Fortify, an industrial 3-D printing startup founded in Boston in 2016 and focused on the aerospace and automotive industries, has raised $10 million in a series A funding round. — VENTUREBEAT

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8. Entrepreneurs are using "workcations"—some self-designed and others professionally organized—to focus, collaborate and problem-solve. — ENTREPRENEUR

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9. Apollo 11's legacy—the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing is July 20—lives on as numerous aerospace startups work to create technologies that will help NASA reach Mars. — ANSYS

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10. Speaking of space, Momentus, an in-space transportation startup, has raised $25.5 million in series A funding this week, which it will use to speed up developing and testing its shuttles that move satellites between various orbits. — SPACE NEWS

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Julia Goldberg is a journalist and author living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She writes regularly about the intersection of technology and culture, and is the executive director of MIX Santa Fe, a networking organization for entrepreneurs. She writes the Inside Founders newsletter and can be found on Twitter @votergirl.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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