How to do Creative Photography Montages with a Contact Sheet Template in Photoshop

Do you like adding borders to your digital photos? Apps and editing programs offer a wide variety of fun and creative ones for you to choose from. The sprockets from film photography have become very popular because of its vintage look. I’ve decided to bring this idea one step further and make creative photography montages with a contact sheet template in Photoshop. Read on to learn how you can too.

Creative-Photography-Montages-using-photoshop

 

Contact Sheet

Contact sheets come from film photography and are made by placing the film negative directly onto the light-sensitive paper and then exposing light onto it. Because of this, the resulting image was a positive image of the film on a 1:1 scale.

Creative-Photography-Montages-using-photoshop

Film comes in different formats: 35mm, medium and large. Furthermore, each brand puts the frame number, name and other information on the film. You can use all of these as different styles for your template. See how the same image can look so different just by changing the type of film border.

Creative-Photography-Montages-using-photoshop

Each different film will result in a different contact sheet, and you can use any of them for your montage. There are many styles available for sale on stock photography websites, and of course, you can scan an original one to use. However, if you want to create your own, I’ll show you how to easily design a basic 35mm contact sheet in Photoshop.

Creative-Photography-Montages-using-photoshop

Digital 35mm contact sheet created in Photoshop

Film rolls of 35mm were available in 12, 24 or 36 frames. Because of this, it’s easier if the size of your document is a multiple of six on the longest side. For now, I’ll make the artboard 24 cm both in height and width so that I can create 36 frames. Later, I can add some extra space if I see it’s too tight.

Open a new document in Photoshop

To begin, turn on your rulers. If they’re not visible by going to Menu -> View -> Rulers. You can change the measurement units by right-clicking on them and then choosing centimeters. Now draw your guides by clicking on the ruler and dragging it to the place you need it. I’ll put them every 4 cm so that I can design six frames per row.

To put your guides on exact co-ordinates, go to Menu -> New Guide. In the New Guide window, choose Horizontal or Vertical, and then enter your exact position number, and press OK. Your guide will then appear in the exact position you want on your artboard. Repeat the process to have exact guidelines.

Use guides to distribute your canvas

Now you know where to draw your film.

From the toolbox, choose the Custom Shape Tool. Then go to the Options bar and open the shapes menu, where you’ll find the 35mm Film shape.

Photoshop Custom Shapes

You can choose the color in the same option bar. I’ll do a dark grey to simulate the original as close as possible, but you can do something more contrasting if you like.

Drag and drop at the start of each guide, and repeat until you fill your contact sheet.

Use the guides to draw your shape

Now determine the canvas size by going to Menu -> Image -> Canvas Size. Make it to your liking. I’ll only add some space on the sides.

You can turn off your guides now by pressing Cmd+; (mac), or Alt+; (windows).

Contact sheet template

To make your template more manageable, merge all your shapes together, and then rasterize them. You can find both commands by right-clicking on the selected layers to open the pop-up menu.

Merge and rasterize

Make a selection of the frames where the image will show to create your collage. Save it by going to Menu -> Selection -> Save Selection. When the pop-up window opens, leave all the settings as they are and just name it. Then click OK. This way, you won’t have to make the selection every time you add an image.

Make the selection and save it

Add the base image by going to the menu File -> Place and adjust to the right size. You can also do Copy and Paste but then your image won’t be a Smart Object and it can lose quality if you modify it many times. To learn more about this, check out Photoshop Smart Objects for Beginners.

Place the base image

Now the image is visible through the contact sheet, but it’s also coming through the sprockets and on the sides. This is where the saved selection from before comes in handy. You now load the selection by going to menu -> Selection -> Load Selection.

Then click the Create a Layer Mask button from the bottom of the Layers panel.

Use layer masks to shape the image

Add other images into the mix, or use the same one in different sizes and places to create your collage. Just repeat the process for each image you want to add and your montage is ready.

Place more images to compose the montage

If you are having any trouble with the visualization of certain images make sure the layers are in the right order.

Check out this Introduction to Photoshop Layers Possibilities and Properties for help if you need it.

Now let your creativity flow and have fun. Share the results of your creative photography montages with us in the comments section!

Additional reading

For more ideas on creative photography montages, check out these tutorials:

How to Make a Joiner Collage for a Retro Style Panorama

4 Concepts for Collages, Diptychs, Album Pages, etc.

How to Make a Photoshop Collage in 9 Simple Steps

 

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India bans e-cigarettes citing youth health concerns – TechCrunch

India’s government has announced an immediate ban on e-cigarettes — citing youth-focused public health concerns.

In a news statement following a cabinet meeting today, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the ban covers production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising of e-cigarettes.

Sitharaman suggested India’s youth are viewing e-cigarettes as a “style statement,” implying it’s encouraging them to get hooked on nicotine — whereas she noted that companies behind the vaping trend have pitched their products as a way to ween existing smokers off cigarettes.

“This decision is taken keeping in mind the impact that [e-cigarettes are] having on the youth of today,” she said of the ban order. “The data that we have largely is derived from the U.S.’ experience and it the U.S. the latest stats that I have before me states that there has been a 77.8% growth among school students who are at the 10th and 12th level.”

She also pointed to “surprising” growth in e-cigarette use among U.S. middle school students — up 48.5%, per stats she cited. 

India has some 106 million adult smokers, making it a major market for cigarette companies of all stripes. But with the e-cigarette ban, vaping startups like Juul are set to be shut out entirely — even as traditional tobacco giants are allowed to continue to operate.

According to the World Health Organization, the use of tobacco in Indian, which includes both smoked and smokeless products, kills close to 1 million people per year.

The ban on e-cigarettes will need formal approval when India’s parliament returns this fall, though this step is typically considered a formality.

Penalties for breaching the ban order include up to one year in jail and a fine of 100,000 rupees ($1,405) for first-time offenders, per Reuters. Repeat violation risks up to three years and a penalty of up to 500,000 rupees. It’s not clear whether users of e-cigarettes will risk any penalties for the act of vaping itself.

India’s ban comes at a time when the U.S. is also preparing to tighten regulation in response to concerns around youth vaping. This month the Trump administration said it’s working on a compliance policy for flavored e-cigarettes that are especially appealing to children.

The U.S.’ CDC public health agency also recently warned against using e-cigarettes — as it investigates a lung condition associated with vaping, following hundreds of cases and a suspected death in August.

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North now offers Focals smart glasses fittings and purchases via app – TechCrunch

North’s Focals smart glasses are the first in the category to even approach mainstream appeal, but to date, the only way to get a pair has been to go into a physical North showroom and get a custom fitting, then return once they’re ready for a pickup and final adjustment. Now, North has released its Showroom app, which makes Focals available across the U.S. and Canada without an in-person appointment.

This approach reduces considerable friction, and it’s able to do so thanks to technology available on board the iPhone X or later — essentially the same tech that makes Face ID possible. People can go through the sizing and fitting process using these later model iPhones (and you can borrow a friend’s if you’re on Android or an older iOS device) and then North takes those measurements and can produce either prescription or non-prescription Focals, shipped directly to your door after a few weeks.

The Showroom app also includes an AR-powered virtual try-on feature for making sure you like the look of the frames, and for picking out your favorite color. Once the Focals show up at your door, the final fitting process is also something you can do at home, guided by the app’s directions for getting the fit just right.

Should you still want to hit an actual physical showroom, North’s still going to be operating its Brooklyn and Toronto storefronts, and will be operating pop-ups across North America as well.

Focals began shipping earlier this year, bringing practical smart notification, guidance and other software experiences to your field of view via a tiny projector and in-lens transparent display. North, which previously existed as Thalmic Labs and created the Myo gesture control armband, recognized that they were building control devices optimized for exactly this kind of application, but also found that no one was yet getting wearable tech like smart glasses right. Last year, Thalmic Labs pivoted to become North and focus on Focals as a result.

Since launching its smart glasses to consumers, it’s been iterating the software to consistently add new features, and making them more accessible to customers. An early price drop significantly lessened sticker shock, and now removing the requirement to actually visit a location in person to both order and collect the glasses should help expand their customer base further still.

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Getting a new iPhone 11 on Friday? Here’s how to ensure a smooth upgrade

Getting a new iPhone 11 this Friday? Here’s what you need to do to make the switch as painless as possible, whether you use the iPhone for business or leisure.

Must read: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max: What are the differences?

Since Apple’s entire company now partly relies on people upgrading their iPhones on a regular basis, you can be sure that a lot of effort has been put into making upgrading as simple as possible.

But with a little pre-planning you can make the transition even simpler.

Here’s what I recommend your pre-Friday game plan should look like:

  • If you’ve not done so already, upgrade to the latest version of iOS. While not necessary, this should ensure the smoothest transition possible. However, if you like playing with betas, I suggest downgrading before making the switch, or at the very least not upgrading to the iOS 13.1 beta because at present that version doesn’t seem to be available for the iPhone 11.
  • Update your apps. Again, not necessary but will make the transition as smooth as possible.
  • Backup, backup, backup! I recommend backing up to both iCloud (even if that means paying for more storage) and making a local iTunes backup. Remember, when it comes to backups, two is one and one is none, and if things go wrong, you’ll be pleased you spread your eggs across multiple baskets.
  • Make a note of your Apple ID and password, because you’ll need both of these.
  • If you have an Apple Watch, unpair it in advance. Doing this will force a backup of the Apple watch data, so you can restore it after pairing it with the new iPhone.
  • If your existing iPhone runs iOS 11 or later, the easiest way to make the switch is to use the Quick Start feature.
  • If you are moving from Android to iPhone, Apple has you covered.

See also:

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Facebook announces Portal TV – TechCrunch

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Facebook launches Portal TV, a $149 video chat set-top box

The Portal TV lets you hang out with friends using your home’s biggest screen. It’s part of a new line of Portal devices that bring the platform’s auto-zooming AI camera, in-house voice assistant speaker, Messenger video chat and end-to-end encrypted WhatsApp video calls to smaller form factors.

Facebook says it also will provide a lot more clarity around privacy — although human review of voice recordings is still turned on by default.

2. Apple Watch Series 5 review

The Apple Watch Series 5 doesn’t include any hardware additions quite as flashy as the LTE functionality and ECG monitor it introduced with previous updates. But taken as a whole, the new features maintain the device’s spot at the top of the smartwatch heap.

3. Google Fi gets an unlimited plan

For the longest time, Google Fi didn’t play the unlimited calls, text and data game. That’s changing this week.

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4. Roboticist and YouTube star Simone Giertz is coming to Disrupt SF

With 1.92 million YouTube subscribers, Giertz is best known for her “shitty” robotic creations, including arms that serve soup and breakfast, draw holiday cards and apply lipstick — to hilariously uneven results.

5. Documents reveal how Russia taps phone companies for surveillance

Documents reviewed by TechCrunch offer new insight into the scope and scale of the Russian surveillance system known as SORM, and how Russian authorities gain access to the calls, messages and data of customers of the country’s largest phone provider.

6. Podcast app Pocket Casts is now available for free, with an optional $0.99 subscription

Previously, you had to pay a one-time fee of $3.99 to access the Android or iOS apps, but CEO Owen Grover said this approach seemed increasingly at odds with Pocket Casts’ goals, and with the vision of the public radio organizations that acquired it last year.

7. In a social media world, here’s what you need to know about UGC and privacy

For a brand, is it worth the effort to incorporate UGC into their marketing strategy? And if so, how can they do it within the rules — and more importantly, in adherence with the expectations of consumers? (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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As it readies a test for vaping additives, cannabis testing company Cannalysis raises $22.6 million – TechCrunch

Cannalysis, a testing company for cannabis, has raised $22.6 million in a new round of financing as it prepares to bring a new test for vaping additives to the market.

The test, which the company is preparing to unveil later this week, will test for the presence and amount of Vitamin E acetate, a chemical compound that may be linked to the vaping related illness that has swept through the U.S. in the past month.

Cannalysis chief executive Brian Lannon said the new product was developed in response to the current crisis in the cannabis industry over illnesses related to vaping cannabis products.

“The big story that’s been going out over the last week isn’t the product that’s going out in cannabis, but an additive called Vitamin E acetate. We have  developed a test for that,” Lannon says. “As part of the different compliance testing that’s required, it’s not mandated to test for any of these additives… What I’m anticipating based on the phone calls we’ve been getting is that a lot of our customers want to get the test to show that they’re not using the stuff.”

The Santa Ana, Calif.-based company tracks cannabis products across its companies supply chain and provides data management and integration services for its customers so they can immediately update their own tracking systems with the results of Cannalysis’ tests. It also integrates directly with consumer services like Weedmaps, so consumers can get third party verification of the strength of the dosage.

Quality assurance for cannabis products isn’t just a matter of legal compliance. The percentage of THC that’s available in different strains can impact the price producers can charge for their product, Lannon says.

“The price of a cannabis product can vary greatly based on its potency,” he says. “Right now the number in the market is 20 percent. If your product tests at 18 percent instead of twenty percent, that can mean a huge difference in cost.”

While testing variance is a problem for the industry, Cannalysis says its highly automated lab, which relies on robotics and machine learning to increase the speed and accuracy of its testing, along with the integrated software services it offers to customers, exceeds the standards for ISO accreditation.

Certainly that’s what attracted CanLab, the nation’s largest testing service to commit $22 million to the company as a strategic investor.

Lannon says the new cash will be used to expand into new markets including Oregon, where the company has already made an initial hiring push, and other highly regulated cannabis markets.

A serial entrepreneur who previously founded an action sports apparel company called HK Army and MetaThreads, an esports clothing company, Lannon came to the cannabis industry initially as a user of the substance. As the market matured his interest was piqued in developing technologies that could ascertain the quality of various cannabis products.

His timing was exceptional. Investors have spent nearly $16 billion on North American cannabis companies in 2018, double the amount invested just three years ago,  according to data from the analytics company New Frontier Data cited by the Associated Press. And the Marijuana Business Factbook projects that the economic impact of the legal industry was somewhere between $20 billion and $23 billion in 2017. Its a number that could grow to $77 billion by 2022.

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PlayVS picks up $50 million Series C to build out high school esports – TechCrunch

PlayVS, the platform that allows high school students to compete on varsity esports teams through their school, has today announced the close of a $50 million Series C led by existing investor NEA. Battery Ventures, Dick Costolo and Adam Bain of 01 Advisors, Sapphire Sport, Michael Zeisser, Dennis Phelps of IVP and co-founder of CAA Michael Ovitz participated.

This brings the startup’s total funding to $96 million, the vast majority of which was raised in the last 13 months.

PlayVS launched in April of 2018 under founder and CEO Delane Parnell, who believes that the opportunity of esports is fundamentally broken without high school leagues. Through an exclusive partnership with the NFHS (the NCAA of high schools), PlayVS allows schools across the country to create esports teams and participate in leagues with their neighboring schools, just like any other varsity sport.

PlayVS also partners with the game publishers, which allows the platform to pull stats directly from the PlayVS website and track players’ performance across every game.

The startup charges either the player, parent/guardian or school $64 per player to participate in “Seasons,” PlayVS’s first product. It was launched in October of 2018 in five states and expanded to eight states this spring.

Since launch, 13,000 schools have joined the waitlist to get a varsity esports team through PlayVS, which represents 68% of the country. PlayVS says that just over 14,000 high schools in the United States have a football program, marking the idea of varsity esports as a relatively popular one.

With the upcoming fall Season for 2019, all 50 states will have access to the PlayVS platform, with 15 states competing for an actual State Championship in partnership with their state association. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington D.C.

States that have not gotten an endorsement from their state association will still compete regionally for a PlayVS championship. PlayVS supports League of Legends, Rocket League and SMITE, with plans to support other games in the future.

Not only does PlayVS offer high school students the chance to play organized esports, but it also gives colleges and esports orgs a recruitment tool to scope and scoop young talent.

But what about that funding? Well, Parnell says that the new round gives the company a war chest to not only hire aggressively — the company has gone from 18 to 41 employees in the last year — but also to consider mergers and acquisitions as a means of growth.

Perhaps most importantly, the company will use the funding to explore products outside of high school, with eyes squarely focused on the collegiate market. With esports still in its infancy, there is a huge opportunity to provide the infrastructure of these leagues early on, and PlayVS is looking to capture that.

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5 Reasons Why the Canon 10-18mm is a Must-Have Wide-Angle Lens

After buying a new camera we all start planning for our next lens, which can replace or complement the kit lens. This is when the real confusion starts, you have to choose one out of the so many options available in the market. If you are a Canon APS-C camera user and looking for a wide-angle lens, the Canon EF-S 10-18MM f/4.5-5.6 IS STM could be an ideal choice. I have been using this lens for almost a year now, so I thought of sharing my experience and views with you all. Let me share 5 reasons why I believe that Canon 10-18mm lens is a must-have wide-angle lens.

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1. Ultra-wide angle of view

If you are or have used the 18-55mm kit lens on your Canon APS-C body, there might have been situations when you wanted to go wider than 18mm. This is when having the Canon 10-18mm lens in your camera bag can help you click frames as wide as 10mm (P.S. do apply the crop factor).

Canon-10-18mm-lens

Imagine you are at a rock concert or an event and you wish to capture the entire stage in a frame. Or imagine yourself looking at a beautiful landscape with beautiful clouds and the sun is setting. This is when using the 10-18mm lens can help you capture ultra-wide angle shots even from a short distance.

2. Ideal for Vlogging

With companies such as Canon also focusing on video features, more and more people are adapting to the vlogging culture. Isn’t it fun to capture moments and experiences when you are traveling and at the same time show your surroundings in a single frame?

5 Reasons Why the Canon 10-18mm is a Must-Have Wide-Angle Lens

I have been personally using the Canon 10-18mm lens on my Canon M50 to record almost all my vlogs for the past year, and have never had a second thought about it. The only situation where this lens can struggle is in low light conditions as f/4.5 is the widest it can go, which might introduce noise. But then, at $300, you can hardly find such a wide focal length that matches your requirements.

3. Features Image Stabilization

There are very few lenses (as far as I am aware) that feature Image Stabilization, and are priced under $300. This lens is equipped with a 4-stop optical image stabilizer which comes in handy while clicking photos in low light conditions. In practical scenarios, I have managed to get a sharp and stable shot handheld at 1/2th sec using 10mm focal length. So even if it is an f/4.5-5.6 lens, you can let in more light using a slower shutter speed in low light situations.

5 Reasons Why the Canon 10-18mm is a Must-Have Wide-Angle Lens

But you must be careful while clicking images at such a slow shutter speed, especially when there are elements in motion in your frame. I usually use it while clicking photos of monuments/buildings or creative images like light trails.

4. Use it for close-up shots

You may be thinking, “why would I want to click macro shots using a 10-18mm focal length?”

Well, this is not the ideal focal length range for macro photography, but that is where the fun starts. If you wish to capture something different and with a unique perspective, you can get some amazing close-up shots.

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In the sample macro shot shared above, you can see that I was able to get close to the insect and at the same time capture wide frame with shallow depth of field. Isn’t that a unique perspective in itself?

5. Ideal for Street Photography

I believe there is no particular focal length that can be termed as perfect for street photography. Every photographer has their own way of capturing photos while traveling. Some may like ultra-wide, some may prefer a standard focal length, and some may go for a 50mm or 85mm lens.

Canon-10-18mm-lens

I tried clicking candid street photos while roaming in my city and to my interest, the 10-18mm focal length range impressed me for the sole reason that I could capture more elements in my frame. If I had shot this photo shared above at 24mm or 35mm focal length, I would either had to move a few steps back or capture only a part of this beautiful moment.

What are your views about the Canon EF-S 10-18MM f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens? Feel free to comment below.

 

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North now offers Focals smart glasses fittings and purchases via app – TechCrunch

North’s Focals smart glasses are the first in the category to even approach mainstream appeal, but to date, the only way to get a pair has been to go into a physical North showroom and get a custom fitting, and then return once they’re ready for a pick-up and final adjustment. Now, North has released its Showroom app, which makes Focals available across the U.S. and Canada without an in-person appointment.

This approach reduces considerable friction, and it’s able to do so thanks to technology available on board the iPhone X or later – essentially the same tech that makes Face ID possible. People can go through the sizing and fitting process using these later model iPhones (and you can borrow a friend’s if you’re on Android or an older iOS device) and then North takes those measurements and can produce either prescription or non-prescription Focals, shipped directly to your door after a few weeks.

The Showroom app also includes an AR-powered virtual try-on feature for making sure you like the look of the frames, and for picking out your favorite color. Once the Focals show up at your door, the final fitting process is also something you can do at home, guided by the app’s directions for getting the fit just right.

Should you still want to hit an actual physical showroom, North’s still going to be operating its Brooklyn and Toronto storefronts, and will be operating pop-ups across North America as well.

Focals began shipping earlier this year, bringing practical smart notification, guidance and other software experiences to your field of view via a tiny projector and in-lens transparent display. North, which previously existed as Thalmic Labs and created the Myo gesture control armband, recognized that they were building control devices optimized for exactly this kind of application, but also found that no one was yet getting wearable tech like smart glasses right. Last year, Thalmic Labs pivoted to become North and focus on Focals as a result.

Since launching its smart glasses to consumers, it’s been iterating the software to consistently add new features, and making them more accessible to customers. An early price drop significantly lessened sticker shock, and now removing the requirement to actually visit a location in person to both order and collect the glasses should help expand their customer base further still.

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Afore Capital raises second pre-seed venture capital fund – TechCrunch

As expectations from seed investors intensify, a new stage of investment has established itself earlier in the venture-backed company life cycle.

Known as “pre-seed” investing, one of the first legitimate outfits to double down on the stage has refueled, closing its second fund on $77 million.

Afore Capital’s sophomore fund is likely the largest pool of venture capital yet to focus exclusively on pre-seed companies, or pre-product businesses seeking their first bout of institutional capital. In many cases, a pre-seed startup may even be “pre-idea,” yet to fully incorporate. While some funds are happy to invest that early, Afore seeks slightly more mature companies.

Afore invests between $500,000 and $1 million in nascent startups. As it kicks off its second fund, founding partners Anamitra Banerji and Gaurav Jain tell TechCrunch they plan to lead all of their investments.

We have the opportunity to build a firm that defines a category. – Afore founding partner Anamitra Banerji

Standouts in Afore’s existing portfolio include the no-fee credit card company Petal — which has raised roughly $50 million to date — mobile executive coaching business BetterUp, childcare information platform Winnie and Modern Health, a B2B mental wellness platform.

Afore portfolio companies have raised more than $360 million in follow-on funding, with an aggregate market cap of $1.5 billion, Jain, the founding product manager at Android Nexus and former principal at Founder Collective, tells TechCrunch. “These are high-quality teams with high-quality projects and ideas.”

Jain and Banerji — a founding product manager at Twitter and former partner at Foundation Capital — began raising capital for Afore’s $47 million debut fund in 2016. Since then, the landscape for seed investing has shifted. Early-stage investors have begun funneling larger sums of capital to standout teams at the seed, while billion-dollar venture capital funds set aside capital for serial entrepreneurs working on their next big idea. As a result, deal sizes have swelled and deal count has shrunk simultaneously.

“Pre-seed has replaced seed in the venture ecosystem,” Banerji tells TechCrunch. “We saw this early as a result of both of us having been at funds. We knew that this was going to be a massive category just like seed was before it. Now we think it’s clearly here to stay and we have the opportunity to build a firm that defines a category.”

Since launching the firm, the pair explain they’ve noticed more and more founders explicitly stating that they are in the market for a pre-seed round, a statement you wouldn’t have heard as recently as two years ago.

This is a result of Afore’s efforts to legitimize the stage through investments and programming, including its annual Pre-Seed Summit. Though Afore is certainly not the only VC fund focused on the earliest stage of startup investing — other firms deploying capital at the stage include Hustle Fund, which closed an $11.8 million debut fund last year, plus the $20 million immigrant-focused pre-seed fund Unshackled Ventures and the predominant seed and pre-seed stage firm Precursor Ventures, which announced a $31 million second fund earlier this year.

In the past year alone, more than $200 million has been dedicated to the pre-seed stage, with at least nine new funds launching to nurture early-stage startups.

More and more firms are setting up shop at the pre-seed stage as competition at the seed stage reaches new heights. As we’ve previously reported, monster funds are becoming increasingly active at the seed stage, muscling seed funds out of top deals with less dilutive offers. While the pre-seed stage, for the most part, remains protected from competition at the later stage, these firms still have to compete.

“Nobody wants to lose sight of a deal, so they are willing to toss small amounts of capital very early behind interesting founders,” Jain said. “But frankly, we aren’t sure if it’s good for a company to raise that much capital that early in their life cycle.”

Working with a fund that isn’t passionate about what you are building or familiar with the plights of the stage of your business is terrible for founders, adds Jain. Pairing with a focused fund like Afore, on the other hand, allows for “incentive alignment.”

Afore invests across all industries, preferring to back startups in categories “before they are categories.”

“What we are looking for is deep authenticity and passion around the product they are building,” says Banerji. “Ideas on their own aren’t enough. Founder resumes on their own aren’t enough. While we do care about all of those aspects, we get crazy about their clarity of thought in the short term.”

“We don’t take the point of view of ‘here is some money, it’s OK to lose it,’ ” he adds. “For us to invest, the founder must be all in. And we generally don’t invest in celebrity founders; we are going after the underdog founder.”

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