Failories Newsletter. My . Fav.

Failories! New content 😉


The first piece is an interview with the founder of Flexiple, a Bengaluru-based freelancing platform that connects startups with developers. Everything started after an internship between 3 friends and it has grown, through outreach and side project marketing, to $80k/month.


The two other pieces are short articles explaining why have Vreal, a VR streaming platform, and Utrip, an AI-powered travel planning startup, recently failed.


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$80K/month Connecting Startups with Developers

After working on a tech-related internship, Suvansh and his two friends decided to start testing different business ideas. The first ones failed, but then they launched Flexiple, a freelancing platform that connects startups with developers. This has been grown through cold outreach and side-project marketing up to $80,000/month.

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Quick Read: Why Did Vreal Fail?

Started in 2015, Vreal was a virtual reality startup that enabled users to create avatars and interact with content creators and players on a shared VR space. However, after 4 years, the startup failed. They admitted that they were ahead of their time with a product whose market was never fully developed.

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Quick Read: Why Did Utrip Fail?

Utrip was a travel planning startup that used AI and user recommendations to create highly personalized itineraries for its clients. The costs associated with sales, marketing and keeping the recommendation engine alive was too much for them, which made them be unprofitable and have to shut down.

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Best Startup events in Europe: courtesy – Thomas Ohr Newsletter

Are you wondering which startup & tech events will be worth attending in the coming months? We just published our annual report highlighting 30 of the best startup events in Europe. You can download it here! 🙂 And below you’ll find some additional startup news and opportunities that might be interesting for you:

Unbabel: In the recent days, there have been several big funding rounds in Europe. For example: Lisbon-based translation platform Unbabel just completed its €55 million Series C funding round.Construction Tech: UK-based construction company FK Group has launched FK Accelerate, a global startup search to drive innovation in the construction sector. FK Accelerate will identify technologies with the potential to revolutionise construction processes. Startups can apply now until the 13th of October. By the way: We recently highlighted 10 European construction tech startups to watch!

Investor Summit Liechtenstein: On October 31, the Investor Summit Liechtenstein will be the meeting place for the startup scene from Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. Selected startups will be pitching in front of over 200 interested attendees (incl. many investors). Get your ticket now!

Spend Management: A few days ago we published a guest post written by Rodolphe Ardant, co-founder and CEO of Spendesk, a fast-growing business spend management platform from France. It’s an interesting read!

Startup Advice: If you’re looking for some advice on how to deal with engineers and how to approach decision making, make sure to check out the 9th and 10th chapter of Marco Trombetti’s book “The New Prince”.

Seedrs: On Friday evening of last week we launched our equity crowdfunding campaign in private mode, which means that you currently have early access before the campaign will also be accessible to a bigger audience in a few days. Here is our campaign!

That’s all I wanted to share with you today, Jay. If you have any questions, please just hit the reply button and let’s talk. 🙂

Best regards,

Thomas Ohr
Founder & Editor
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Inc42 – Startpreneur Newsletter

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Morning Briefing (10 Min Reading Time)
Top news & stories of the startup ecosystem from India & around the world
Coverfox has received an INR 40 Cr capital infusion from its existing investors. According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings accessed by us, Coverfox has issued Series C5 compulsorily convertible preference shares to investors such as International Finance Corporation, Aegon Digital Investments, Transamerica Ventures, Accel India and SAIF Partners.
Bengaluru-based online classifieds marketplace Quikr has raised INR 20 Cr in debt funding. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings accessed by Inc42, the company has raised debt by issuing 200 compulsorily convertible debentures to Trifecta Capital in May.
In a bid to join in the electric mobility ambitions of the Indian government, Uber Technologies has partnered with Sun Mobility to deploy electric autos on its platform.
Enterprise tech, ecommerce, and media and entertainment combined made up 45% (63) of the total funding deals at the seed stage in H1 2019. Increased investor confidence towards ecommerce was primarily driven by vertical ecommerce models, whereas in the case of media and entertainment, gaming and content-focused startups were the driving force.
Wedding Wishlist was founded in 2016 and began life as a wedding gift registry. The founders, extended Wedding Wishlist’s model to become an app-based platform with a multitude of services such as guest management, logistics, private social media experience and more. The company has raised over $290K in seed funding from angel investors.
SOLV is now inviting applications for what it claims is India’s first hackable digital billboard. ‘Hack Your Future’ is a digital billboard designed to change how traditional recruitment works, and unlike the typical process of shortlisting candidates, followed by interviews and negotiations, this is a real-time test of skills and talent.
Gusto announced yesterday that it has raised $200 million of venture capital from wealth manager Fidelity Management & Research Company and Generation Investment Management, which was founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to create a vehicle for “sustainable” investments.
In the agreement filed on July 24, the FTC alleges that Facebook violated the law by failing to protect data from third parties, serving ads through the use of phone numbers provided for security, and lying to users that its facial recognition software was turned off by default. In order to settle those charges, Facebook will pay $5 billion.

Ethical Alliance Daily News   

Ethical Alliance Daily News 

Italy: Italy’s CMC di Ravenna denies any wrongdoing in Kenya dams scandal
Jul 25, 2019 08:00 pm

Italian construction company CMC di Ravenna, which faces charges in a multi-million dollar corruption scandal in Kenya, has denied any wrongdoing and is co-operating with Kenyan authorities, the firm said. Kenyan Finance Minister Henry Rotich pleaded not guilty to corruption…

United States: SEC Awards Half-Million Dollars to Overseas Whistleblower
Jul 25, 2019 07:30 pm

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced a half-million dollar award to an overseas whistleblower whose expeditious reporting helped the Commission bring a successful enforcement action. The SEC has awarded approximately $385 million to 65 individuals since issuing its first award…

United States: Parent charged in college bribery scheme set to plead guilty
Jul 25, 2019 07:00 pm

A California man accused of paying $250,000 to get his son into the University of Southern California is expected to plead guilty to a federal charge. Jeffrey Bizzack is scheduled to enter his plea in Boston’s federal court Wednesday. He…

Mexico: Mother of senior aide to Mexico’s ex-president arrested in Germany
Jul 25, 2019 06:30 pm

The mother of Emilio Lozoya, the former chief executive of Mexican state oil company Pemex and a close confidant to ex-President Enrique Pena Nieto, has been arrested in Germany, Lozoya’s lawyer said on Wednesday. Lozoya and several of his family…

Israel: Senior rabbinate kashrut official to stand trial for bribery
Jul 25, 2019 06:00 pm

State prosecutors are set to file criminal charges against the former head of the Chief Rabbinate’s import departments for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of shekels in bribes. Rabbi Yitzchak Arazi, who headed the unit responsible for certifying the kashrut of…

Iraq: Arrest warrants issued for 11 senior Iraqi officials suspected of corruption: PM
Jul 25, 2019 05:30 pm

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday that arrest warrants were issued for 11 ministers and ministerial-level officials suspected of corruption. A total of 1,367 cases of corruption have been referred to the integrity courts, with 4,117 cases…
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Requested Ministry-wise PIB releases.

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Medium Daily Digest Newsletter

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Stories for Dhananjay Parkhe · Member since Aug 2018

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This is the Brain Pickings midweek pick-me-up: Once a week, I plunge into my 12-year archive and choose something worth resurfacing and resavoring as timeless nourishment for heart, mind, and spirit. (If you don’t yet subscribe to the standard Sunday newsletter of new pieces published each week, you can sign up here – it’s free.) If you missed last week’s edition – the science of sleep: dreaming, depression, and how REM sleep regulates our negative moods – you can catch up right here. And if you find any value and joy in my labor of love, please consider supporting it with a donation – over these twelve years, I have spent tens of thousands of hours and tremendous resources on Brain Pickings, and every little bit of support helps keep it going. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

FROM THE ARCHIVE | William Blake’s Most Beautiful Letter: A Searing Defense of the Imagination and the Creative Spirit


“The genius,” Schopenhauer wrote in his timeless distinction between genius and talent“lights on his age like a comet into the paths of the planets, to whose well-regulated and comprehensible arrangement its wholly eccentric course is foreign.” Unlike the person of talent, whose work simply exceeds in excellence the work of their contemporaries and is therefore easily appreciated by them, Schopenhauer argued that person of genius produces work which differs not in mere degree of excellence but in kind of vision. It is therefore often ridiculed or, worse yet, entirely ignored by the creator’s contemporaries, to be rediscovered and appreciated only by posterity.

Arguably no genius embodies this tragic tenet more perfectly than William Blake(November 28, 1757–August 12, 1827), who lived amid ridicule and died in relative obscurity, then went on to inspire generations of artists. He was a lifelong muse to Maurice Sendak and a kind of creative patron saint for Patti Smith. He produced stunning art for Milton’s Paradise Lost and labored over his drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy until his dying day. Centuries later, his verses continue to quench an immutable existential thirst.


Art by William Blake for a rare 1808 edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost

Blake’s genius sprang from his unusual spiritual disposition. Both drawn to and discomfited by religion, he chose instead to live in a world of abstract spirituality, amid a self-created cosmogony, agnostic and often unabashedly antagonistic to scripture. His was an irreverent reverence, intellectually daring and contemptuous of dogma yet animated by unflinching faith in the human spirit, in our capacity for self-transcendence, and in the ability to ameliorate the sorrowful finitude of our lives by contacting eternity through the supreme conduits of truth and beauty — truth and beauty that continue to radiate from his art. He may have died in poverty, but he lived enriched and electrified by the mirth of creativity.

Nowhere does Blake’s singular genius and orientation of spirit shine more brilliantly than in a letter he wrote to a Reverend John Trusler in the summer of 1799, included in The Portable William Blake (public library), edited by the great Alfred Kazin.


William Blake, “The Last Supper”

Trusler was a priest and an early self-help entrepreneur of sorts, who authored books with titles like Hogarth MoralizedA Sure Way to Lengthen Life with Vigor, and The Way to be Rich and Respectable. Practicing his own preachings, he made non-negligible sums from his clever idea to sell sermons printed to appear handwritten so as to relieve the corner-cutting devout of the drudgery of composition. After seeing Blake’s “The Last Supper” exhibited at the Royal Academy in May of 1799, Trusler decided to commission him for a series of moralistically themed artworks intended to illustrate Trusler’s writings on subjects such as malevolence, benevolence, pride, and humility.

But, as might be expected when a visionary is mistaken for a hand for hire, trouble arose — Blake had his own visions for the art, but Trusler had very specific, rather crude ideas informed by the era’s popular caricature aesthetic. He wrote to Blake with a litany of criticisms, condemning his approach as overly transcendent and whimsical, and accusing him of having an imagination that belongs to “the world of spirits” and unbefitting Trusler’s worldly intentions.


First and last pages of Blake’s letter to Trusler, August 23, 1799. (Images: British Library)

On August 16, 1799, a clearly aggravated and artistically indignant middle-aged Blake fires back in a letter brimming with the curious coalition undergirding all of his art — vexation with the status quo, deep personal torment, and unassailable creative buoyancy. He writes to Trusler:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI find more & more that my style of designing is a species by itself, and in this which I send you have been compelled by my Genius or Angel to follow where he led; if I were to act otherwise it would not fulfill the purpose for which alone I live, which is … to renew the lost art of the Greeks.

I attempted every morning for a fortnight together to follow your dictate, but when I found my attempts were in vain, resolved to show an independence which I know will please an author better than slavishly following the track of another, however admirable that track may be. At any rate, my excuse must be: I could not do otherwise; it was out of my power!

I know I begged of you to give me your ideas and promised to build on them; here I counted without my host. I now find my mistake.

In a sentiment that Tchaikovsky would echo exactly a century later in his lamentation about the paradox of commissioned work and creative freedom, Blake argues that what prohibited him from obeying Trusler’s demands was the impossibility — nay, the sacrilege — of disobeying the muse:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.png[I] cannot previously describe in words what I mean to design, for fear I should evaporate the spirit of my invention… And tho’ I call them mine, I know that they are not mine, being of the same opinion with Milton when he says that the Muse visits his slumbers and awakes and governs his song when morn purples the East, and being also in the predicament of that prophet who says: “I cannot go beyond the command of the Lord, to speak good or bad.”


One of Blake’s drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy

Trusler was incensed and fired further criticism. Before replying to Trusler, Blake wryly confided in his dear friend and lifelong supporter George Cumberland, who had introduced Trusler to Blake’s work and had facilitated the commission: “I could not help smiling at the difference between the doctrines of Dr. Trusler and those of Christ,”

In what remains his greatest letter, Blake defends his vision to Trusler — but his words radiate a larger, more universal and eternal defense of the creative spirit against all the forces which continually try to corrupt it, contract it, and contain it within a suffocating smallness of purpose.

On August 23, 1799, a part-sincere, part-sardonic Blake addresses Trusler’s complaint that his art warrants explanation and is simply too imaginative:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI really am sorry that you are fallen out with the spiritual world, especially if I should have to answer for it… If I am wrong, I am wrong in good company… What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.

Asserting that Trusler’s eye has been “perverted by caricature prints, which ought not to abound so much as they do,” Blake makes a beautiful case for beauty (or ugliness) being in the eye of the beholder, implying that the art of living lies largely in training the eye to attend to what is beautiful and noble — an argument all the more urgent amid our present culture of rampant cynicism and a media ecosystem that traffics in outrage as its chief currency.

Blake writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngFun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth. I feel that a man may be happy in this world. And I know that this world is a world of imagination and vision. I see every thing I paint in this world, but everybody does not see alike. To the eyes of a miser a guinea is far more beautiful than the Sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes. The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. As a man is, so he sees.


You certainly mistake, when you say that the visions of fancy are not to be found in this world. To me this world is all one continued vision of fancy or imagination, and I feel flattered when I am told so.

There is no greater testament to the enchantment of the real world, Blake argues, than the imagination of children, who see the grand and eternal in the ordinary and who are, as E.B. White would argue three centuries later, “the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth.”Blake writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI am happy to find a great majority of fellow mortals who can elucidate my visions, and particularly they have been elucidated by children, who have taken a greater delight in contemplating my pictures than I even hoped. Neither youth nor childhood is folly or incapacity. Some children are fools and so are some old men. But there is a vast majority on the side of imagination or spiritual sensation.


Another of Blake’s drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy

Complying with the era’s epistolary etiquette, Blake ends with a signature comically courteous in the contrasting context of his defiant letter:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI am, Revd. Sir, your very obedient servant,


Couple the altogether indispensable Portable William Blake (public library) with Patti Smith’s loving homage to Blake, then complement this particular portion with artist Anne Truitt’s beautiful meditation on what sustains the creative spirit.



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Patti Smith Sings “The Tyger” and Reflects on William Blake’s Transcendent Legacy as a Guiding Sun in the Cosmos of Creativity

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Philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft on the Imagination and Its Seductive Power in Human Relationships

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William Blake Illustrates Pioneering Feminist and Political Philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft’s Book of Moral Education for Children