Nintendo’s NES Switch controllers activate the nostalgia centers (and wallets) of retro gamers

The news that Nintendo would be adding NES games to the Switch as part of its paid online service had a mixed reception, but the company has completely made up for this controversial decision by releasing wireless NES controllers with which to play those games. At $60 they’re a bit steep, but come on. You know you’re going to buy them eventually. Probably next week.

The controllers were revealed during the latest Nintendo Direct video news dump, alongside a host of other nostalgia bombs, like a new Animal Crossing and about a million Final Fantasy ports. But first the details of those sweet, sweet controllers.

They’re definitely NES-style down to the buttons, meaning they aren’t going to replace your existing Switch Joy-Cons. So why do they cost so much? Because Nintendo. At least they’re wireless and they charge up by slotting onto the Switch’s sides like Joy-Cons. And they do have shoulder buttons, though, for some reason.

You’ll be able to pre-order a two-pack starting on the 18th for $60, which also happens to be the launch date for Nintendo Switch Online. Yeah, it’s time to fork out for that online play Nintendo has generously given away for so long.

Fortunately, as you may remember from previous announcements, the cost is pretty low; $20 per year, and it gets you online game access and a growing library of NES classics. Ten of those games were confirmed before, but 10 more were added to the list today.

So at launch you’ll be able to play:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Dr Mario
  • Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Donkey Kong
  • Ice Climber
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Tennis
  • Soccer
  • Baseball
  • Double Dragon
  • Excitebike
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Hockey
  • Pro Wrestling
  • River City Ransom
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • Yoshi

The service will also enable cloud backups of saves and possible special deals down the line. It sounds like it’s basically a must-have, although plenty of people are angry that their virtual console games have been essentially stolen back from them. At least we have the NES and SNES Classic Editions.

The funding mirage: How to secure international investment from emerging markets

Looking for funding as a startup in Latin America is a lot like looking for a watering hole in the middle of the desert. You know it’s out there, but finding it in time is a life or death situation.

Granted, venture capital investment in the region is at an all-time high, with leading firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners having made inaugural investments in markets like Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, respectively. But, at the same time, while startup founders might be tantalized by the news of big investments happening around them, as many of them get closer to the funding stage themselves, they often realize it’s nothing but a mirage.

And this isn’t just a problem in Latin America. All over the world, startups are struggling to find investment, as VCs are investing more money in fewer deals in the endless search for the next unicorn. Due to a dwindling number of VC deals in both the United States and Europe, even entrepreneurs in established ecosystems are having to look further afield for the resources they need to build their businesses, bringing many of them to emerging markets like Latin America.

Fortunately, whether you’re a local or foreign founder in an emerging market, there is a way to quench your thirst for the international investment that you need to scale your company. Here’s what we recommend to the startups that are part of our UTEC Ventures accelerator program in Peru, and what we’d recommend to you, too.

Find local seed money first

As a startup in an emerging market, the prospect of finding local investment can seem challenging. In fact, this is probably why you’re looking for international investment in the first place. But the truth is, finding local seed money to get started is really the first prerequisite for securing international funding later on.

Last year in Peru, for example, US$7.2 million of seed capital was invested in the country’s startups, with barely over US$1 million coming from international funds. This goes to show that international investors peeking into emerging markets are less active in seed rounds, and more interested in later-stage rounds once a company has better demonstrated its worth.

If you want to attract international investors, you need to be an international startup.

As such, we advise all startups to raise a first or second seed round locally in Peru, and then seek international investors. The same can go for other emerging markets, as well.

To raise these initial rounds, the most important thing is to show that you have a solid team, a business idea that works and has traction with clients chasing your product and that you’re better than any local competition. If you can demonstrate that you meet these requirements, finding local seed capital shouldn’t be too difficult; all you need is a good pitch deck and some patience when networking within local angel groups or at investor events.

Replicate success in a bigger, more competitive market

If you want to attract international investors, you need to be an international startup. In other words, you need to demonstrate that you can sell your product in a bigger, more competitive market before turning the heads of international investors. For startups in Peru and other emerging markets in Latin America, that means successfully expanding to the region’s most developed markets in Mexico, Brazil or Argentina.

Consider, for example, the Colombian courier service Rappi. It wasn’t until after the company expanded its operations to Mexico at the beginning of 2016 that it secured its first major international investment, led by Andreessen Horowitz. The company then went on to close a Series B round just one month later, in addition to a US$130 million venture round at the beginning of this year, led by a German food delivery service with participation from a number of U.S.-based investors.

The same idea goes for emerging markets outside of Latin America, too. In Eastern Europe, which lags behind its western counterpart in terms of VC funding, many entrepreneurs will either set up their businesses in Western European countries from the get-go, or expand there as soon as they’ve achieved product/market fit and demonstrated success in their home countries.

This is a clear demonstration of the broader fact that if you want to start raising money from more developed markets, you generally need to be based in those markets, or at least a market of comparable size. Accordingly, your primary focus when seeking international funding should be to first succeed locally, and then replicate that success in a more developed market — whether that be in the United States, Mexico, Western Europe or anywhere else.

Remember, not all international funding comes from international VCs

While it’s easy to be distracted by the glitz and glamour of securing a round from international VCs, startups have a number of other options at their disposal to secure international funding.

Foreign governments in emerging markets are increasingly stepping up their game with programs designed to bolster their local startup ecosystems as an engine for economic growth. As such, a number of foreign governmental programs have emerged, offering support in the form of equity-free cash to entrepreneurs who decide to set up shop in a given country.

Corporate capital has taken on a very important role in many emerging markets like Latin America.

There are plenty of examples in Latin America alone. Start-Up Chile, for example, offers entrepreneurs up to US$80,000 to launch their businesses in Chile as a launch pad to reach the rest of the world; Parallel18 in Puerto Rico offers entrepreneurs up to US$75,000 to do the same thing; and the Peruvian government plans to announce a similar program to help startups soft launch in Peru with up to US$40,000 at the upcoming Peru Venture Capital Conference.

Startups have another option, as well. Corporate capital, or startup investment from major corporations, has taken on a very important role in many emerging markets like Latin America. In fact, Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of U.S.-based tech giant Qualcomm, is the most active global corporate investor in Latin America. Naspers, American Express Ventures and other corporate funds have taken an active interest in the region’s startups, as well.

Together, the growing support of foreign governments and interest from international corporations highlights the fact that securing international funding is in fact possible, and not as hard as you’d expect. Knowing that there are options besides getting an international VC on board, you should take the time to find out which alternatives are available in the markets to which you’re hoping to expand.

So, no matter whether you’re a local or foreign entrepreneur in an emerging market, there’s no reason to give up hope on finding international funding. The key is to think globally and use technology to solve real-world challenges. Then, demonstrate success at home first, and duplicate it later in a bigger market. Resources are available to help you when taking your first step abroad, and if you do it well, you’ll find that the investment wells aren’t dry after all.

It’s the end of crypto as we know it and I feel fine

Watching the current price madness is scary. Bitcoin is falling and rising in $500 increments with regularity and Ethereum and its attendant ICOs are in a seeming freefall with a few “dead cat bounces” to keep things lively. What this signals is not that crypto is dead, however. It signals that the early, elated period of trading whose milestones including the launch of Coinbase and the growth of a vibrant (if often shady) professional ecosystem is over.

Crypto still runs on hype. Gemini announcing a stablecoin, the World Economic Forum saying something hopeful, someone else saying something less hopeful – all of these things and more are helping define the current market. However, something else is happening behind the scenes that is far more important.

As I’ve written before, the socialization and general acceptance of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial pursuits is a very recent thing. In the old days – circa 2000 – building your own business was considered somehow sordid. Chancers who gave it a go were considered get-rich-quick schemers and worth of little more than derision.

As the dot-com market exploded, however, building your own business wasn’t so wacky. But to do it required the imprimaturs and resources of major corporations – Microsoft, Sun, HP, Sybase, etc. – or a connection to academia – Google, Netscape, Yahoo, etc. You didn’t just quit school, buy a laptop, and start Snapchat.

It took a full decade of steady change to make the revolutionary thought that school wasn’t so great and that money was available for all good ideas to take hold. And take hold it did. We owe the success of TechCrunch and Disrupt to that idea and I’ve always said that TC was career pornography for the cubicle dweller, a guilty pleasure for folks who knew there was something better out there and, with the right prodding, they knew they could achieve it.

So in looking at the crypto markets currently we must look at the dot-com markets circa 1999. Massive infrastructure changes, some brought about by Y2K, had computerized nearly every industry. GenXers born in the late 70s and early 80s were in the marketplace of ideas with an understanding of the Internet the oldsters at the helm of media, research, and banking didn’t have. It was a massive wealth transfer from the middle managers who pushed paper since 1950 to the dot-com CEOs who pushed bits with native ease.

Fast forward to today and we see much of the same thing. Blockchain natives boast about having been interest in bitcoin since 2014. Oldsters at banks realize they should get in on things sooner than later and price manipulation is rampant simply because it is easy. The projects we see now are the of the blockchain era, pie-in-the-sky dream projects that are sucking up millions in funding and will produce little in real terms. But for every hundred Kozmos there is one Amazon .

And that’s what you have to look for.

Will nearly every ICO launched in the last few years fail? Yes. Does it matter?

Not much.

The market is currently eating its young. Early investors made (and probably lost) millions on early ICOs but the resulting noise has created an environment where the best and brightest technical minds are faced with not only creating a technical product but also maintaining a monetary system. There is no need for a smart founder to have to worry about token price but here we are. Most technical CEOs step aside or call for outside help after their IPO, a fact that points to the complexity of managing shareholder expectations. But what happens when your shareholders are 16-year-olds with a lot of Ethereum in a Discord channel? What happens when little Malta becomes the de facto launching spot for token sales and you’re based in Nebraska? What happens when the SEC, FINRA, and Attorneys General from here to Beijing start investigating your hobby?

Basically your hobby stops becoming a hobby. Crypto and blockchain has weaponized nerds in an unprecedented way. In the past if you were a Linux developer or knew a few things about hardware you could build a business and make a little money. Now you can build an empire and make a lot of money.

Crypto is falling because the people in it for the short term are leaving. Long term players – the Amazons of the space – have yet to be identified. Ultimately we are going to face a compression in the ICO and, for a while, it’s going to be a lot harder to build an ICO. But give it a few years – once the various financial authorities get around to reading the Satoshi white paper – and you’ll see a sea change. Coverage will change. Services will change. And the way you raise money will change.

VC used to be about a team and a dream. Now it’s about a team, $1 million in monthly revenue, and a dream. The risk takers are gone. The dentists from Omaha who once visited accelerator demo days and wrote $25,000 checks for new apps are too shy to leave their offices. The flashy VCs from Sand Hill have to keep Uber and Airbnb’s plates spinning until they can cash out. VC is dead for the small entrepreneur.

Which is why the ICO is so important and this is why the ICO is such a mess right now. Because everybody sees the value but nobody – not the SEC, not the investors, not the founders – can understand how to do it right. There is no SAFE note for crypto. There are no serious accelerators. And all of the big names in crypto are either goldbugs, weirdos, or Redditors. No one has tamed the Wild West.

They will.

And when they do expect a whole new crop of Amazons, Ubers, and Oracles. Because the technology changes quickly when there’s money, talent, and a way to marry the two in which everyone wins.