Twenty-five-year-old, Nuseir Yassin also known as Nas just broke all the rules and taught a master class in how to raise money for this $5 million valuation app, while traveling the world full-time.
Silicon Valley is famous for disrupting the world. Thousands of startup cohorts graduating from the Valley’s famous incubators, accelerators and straight-up front doors of billion dollar VCs, redefine how we live our lives daily. Producing legendary creations such as: Google, Facebook, or Airbnb, Silicon Valley is the ultimate benefactor of a billion dollar wave of disruption and prosperity.
But the journey to the promise land is not for the faint of heart. The rules of entry to this tight-knit community of programming geniuses, college dropouts, and Ph.Ds. alike, are tricky. A great idea is a must but there are many hoops to jump through. Rules may vary, but being a technical founder, having influential co-founders and powerful team always scores valuable points. Great MVP and traction definitely help adding to the scoreboard. But, the key is the pitch. You better be awesome at it.
Gaining access to Silicon Valley’s elusive millionaire and billionaire club requires gigantic persuasion skills and a layer of thick skin. Armed with a power point presentation and a 5-min elevator pitch, covered by a mountain of non-disclosures (hey, we wouldn’t want this idea to be stolen, right!) you then jump on the pitching circuit, ready for the infinite rejections, and only then, maybe, just maybe once you develop enough connections to score a listening ear of a VC who will back your revolutionary idea.
Or, you can skip all that and….
Post your entire idea on Facebooka (nuts and bolts and all), ask investors for a quarter of a million dollars on a $5 million valuation, put up the entire business plan, include 5 job postings with salary fully disclosed (because this startup needs a team, right!) and then…well, head out for a trip to Azores. No, I am so not making it up! This actually just happened.
Ladies and gentleman, the startup-funding world is being disrupted as we speak by a new generation of forward-thinkers and Nas is leading the way.
Since he quit his NYC job over a year ago to travel the world, Nas, a 25-year old Israeli kid (who sounds American and somehow found his way from a village in Israel into the icon of America’s Ivy League, Harvard quarters), has been creating his own rules for a while and amassing almost a million followers and over 120 million views on his video stories from around the world.
It’s started as a simple project. Creating daily 1-minute videos while traveling around the world and posting them on his Facebook page.
The success wasn’t obvious nor immediate. But exactly 270 days into the journey, he went viral with his “I am feeling cheap in Thailand” video hitting over 29 million views and the story-telling star was born.
More phenomenal 1-minute stories of relationships in Jerusalem, Moroccan marijuana fields and catching a car thief in San Francisco followed. But this kid is no one-hit wonder. As a matter of fact, Nas is just cranking up his entrepreneurial engine to empower almost a 1 million of his followers by building an app that will allow EVERYONE to create Nas-style story-telling videos without the hassle he goes through every day.
Now, watching Nas’s videos you would never tell that making a 1-minute video could be so difficult. As a matter of fact, he makes it look incredibly easy. The videos are explosions of positive energy, emotions, and happiness. They are educational and thought-provoking and all that in just 1-minute. How hard can it be? And then you try doing it yourself and boom, the job is HARD! And that’s how you know that somebody is a pro at what they do…they make it look so simple! Don’t you hate that? Despite the short 1-minute format, Nas openly admits that he usually spends a few hours to produce each video and estimates a cost of $100 of production. Between the time spent creating the story, editing the content, adding subtitles, choosing the music, the video may be 1-minute but the commitment is most definitely not.
So, now Nas is channeling his creative power into developing a video app that will let you do the same at a fraction of time and cost. In his Facebook post, Nas writes:
“I want to build the best content creation tool for the Facebook medium. Many people will need it. I’m building a team and raising $250k “
His lays out his vision:
“Very few people can afford to make that type of content, especially in developing countries. However, you should be able to create a Nas Daily episode using only your phone, and you should be able to format it so that it performs better on Facebook. That’s what the Nas Daily app will help you achieve.”
And then ….drum roll…. He turns a startup fundraising on its head, outlining all he needs to get going, the money and team, all in one, for your convenience folks.
“To build the minimum product, I am raising $250,000 on convertible Note at $5m cap
I’m assembling a team of 5 total:
2 iOS developers
1 Android Engineer
Me (I still have to make Nas Daily videos though)
If you know anyone, send this their way! I’m open to talk to anyone that’s good and has experience. I don’t discriminate based on location, race, or gender. I only discriminate based on your experience and energy. Each will get around $3k per month + equity. You won’t lose money, but you won’t make much either.
Which means company will spend $15k on salaries and $5k on misc. each month. The money should last for roughly one year. The first milestone *should* take 6 months to reach, so I’m using the remaining money as buffer because I hate asking for money and want to build this for very cheap. Nas Daily costs $100 an episode.
BUT if transparently outlying all his financial terms is not enough. Here is a full outline of the app features:
— Short-term App Features —
The most important features the app has to have:
Import video from Camera Roll
Add subtitles to the app directly from your phone.
Attach a compelling 3 second intro video with large text overlays to the final outcome
Provide you with appropriate music (legal)
With a Swipe (a la Snapchat) you can add meme-style format to your video and we’ll take care of the rest
Generate thumbnail automatically.
Share directly on Facebook or save to your phone.
Advise on best time to launch video along with best tags.
Provide guidelines to create better video. If video is too long, too loud, too dark, alert user before publishing.
— Long-term App Features —
Once content creation features are set, the focus should shift to content discovery.
Surface the best content from the internet that conforms to the Nas Daily video standards.
Nas Daily means People Daily. The app should be centered around people and their creations. In addition to Facebook share, you should be able to share to within the app itself.
Explore content from other creators who are making content in this specific format.
What about the competition you may ask? What about non-disclosure agreements? Nas!!! Why would you reveal all of that information for millions of people to see and risk that somebody will steal your idea? How about competition Nas?
“I don’t care about it.” says Nas in his post. “There are a million other video editing tools out there, kinda like how there are a million Vlogs out there. The Nas Daily format has been right for the Facebook medium unlike other vlogs, and I will do my best we execute on this the right way.”
He is now half-way through his fundraising effort and you would be lucky to get in on the action. Oh, and did I forget that he is updating the world on his progress weekly? You just need to see it to believe it.
And that’s my friends, how it’s done. This 25-year-old immigrant kid just put the startup world on notice and taught a master class in getting a startup off the ground by breaking all the rules in the book. Because, at the end of the day, when you do what you love, when you are authentic in your intentions and motivated by an internal dream, nothing else matters.
So cheers to Nas, the ultimate disruptor. We all hope that one day we all can enter the Nas Valley.
Want more? Check out these stories.