Strategy

The Entrepreneur/VC Dynamic

This strikes me as one of those really important topics that doesn’t get nearly enough airplay. I neither hear this freely discussed among industry participants nor among lead investors and the founders they are backing.
The Entrepreneur/VC Dynamic
Tech

The Word Bubble

[credit provider=”AP”] In all my posts over the past year or so outlining my thoughts on the financing and valuation environment in the internet sector, I’ve avoided using the word Bubble. It is intentional. For me Bubble will always be inexorably linked to what went down in 1999 and 2000 […]
The Word Bubble
Tech

Online Content Empire Sugar Inc Raises $15 Million More

[credit provider=”Flickr/Brian Solis” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/briansolis/2405212807/sizes/z/in/set-72157604488788325/”] Sugar Inc, a network of content and commerce sites aimed at women, has raised another $15 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Institutional Venture Partners, AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher writes. This brings its total funding to $46 million.Sugar is a content powerhouse aimed at women with […]
Online Content Empire Sugar Inc Raises $15 Million More
Tech

Here’s One Way To Get Funding: Give An Angel A Ride

[credit provider=”Joi via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/4433093249/”] If you’re a budding entrepreneur, you know you need an elevator pitch. But what about a taxi pitch?Last August, Alex Moore and Aye Moah were visiting Silicon Valley to try and get funding for their startup Baydin.
Here’s One Way To Get Funding: Give An Angel A Ride
Strategy

Israeli Vs Palestinian – The VC Scenes

Earlier this week I hosted a breakfast for Israeli VC’s and entrepreneurs in Herzilya – Israeli’s Silicon Valley or Route 128 – with Governor Patrick of Massachusetts. Later in the week I met with leading Palestinian entrepreneurs. Here are some of the things I learned – with no offence to […]
Tech

Here’s Your Chance To Get Super Angel Dave McClure’s Attention

[credit provider=”Noah Kagan” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/noahkagan/428650129/”] AppSumo is sponsoring the Lean Startup Challenge.Winners will get a $50,000 investment from 500 Startups, $50,000 cash and incubation resources from Band of Angels and Pivotal Labs, and mentorship time with the likes of Dave McClure and Brad Feld.
Here’s Your Chance To Get Super Angel Dave McClure’s Attention
Tech

This Man Is Putting Millions In Startups’ Pockets — And Scaring VCs To Death

[credit provider=”Photo by Flickr user kk+” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kk/5471727779/”] AngelList is turning Silicon Valley upside down. It’s basically Match.com for startups and business angels, and startups are raising millions from angels on the site almost every day, leaving VCs to scramble for dealflow and paying higher valuations.Not everyone likes it: last week […]
This Man Is Putting Millions In Startups’ Pockets — And Scaring VCs To Death
Strategy

How To Get Rich In 6 Easy Steps

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to learn to play the drums. I’ve always loved the drums. Whenever I listen to music, I hear the drums first. I can listen to a great jazz drummer like Art Blakey for hours on end. I’d give up almost anything to […]
How To Get Rich In 6 Easy Steps
Tech

Ben Horowitz: How We Pick Our General Partners

The silence, the dark, the mind, so fragile The wish, that the streets, would have took you, when they had you The days, the months, the years, dispair One night on my knees, here it comes, the prayer —DMX, Who We Be
Ben Horowitz: How We Pick Our General Partners
Tech

Crazy Investors Are Pouring Money Into Digital Music Again

[credit provider=”Anirudh Koul via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/anirudhkoul/3735171010/”] Despite declining user interest in digital music and the threat competition from giants with deep pockets like Sony, Apple, and Google, investors are pouring money into digital music companies.VCs have already put at least $57 million into digital music in 2011, according to the […]
Crazy Investors Are Pouring Money Into Digital Music Again
Strategy

Selling The Future: Create Your Sales Pitch Ahead Of Time

Here’s an exercise…   It’s a little bit lean startup, but it’s a little more involved than a customer call.  For anyone who is building something to be monetized in the future–a content site, a community for brands to interact in, etc–write up your sales deck for monetization now as […]
Tech

Bridge Technologies

When the tech landscape changes; from web browsers to mobile browswers, from flash to HTML5, from laptops to tablets, from typing on keyboards to typing on screens, from local storage to cloud storage, there are always companies that are started to solve the pain points that crop up from that […]
Bridge Technologies
Strategy

8 Questions To Help Decide If You Should Be Raising Money Now

[credit provider=”Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/greeblie/2426454804/”] A year ago I blogged about one of my most common mantras that applies to sales, biz dev, and fund raising alike: “Time is the Enemy of all Deals.”When times are really good for fund raising many teams delay to maximise their valuation. Sometimes this pays off, […]
8 Questions To Help Decide If You Should Be Raising Money Now
Strategy

The Crossover Fund Has Finally Arrived

The crossover fund has finally arrived.  Liz Gannes has done a great roundup of the latest trend, with Zynga, Facebook and Groupon taking money from the likes of KPCB, Battery, Greylock or Andreessen Horowitz. 
The Crossover Fund Has Finally Arrived
Tech

Everything That’s Wrong With European VCs

[credit provider=”Photo: procsilas (Flickr)” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/procsilas/119482617/”] Europe does have a thriving startup scene, improving every day. But it’s also undeniable that it’s nowhere near the level of the United States in terms of capital, talent or ambition.A great column in The Telegraph by angel investor Richard Titus intelligently points out the […]
Everything That’s Wrong With European VCs
Strategy

Screw the Jockey, Bet On The Mafia

Sarah Lacy wrote a long post about “mafias” and those that ensued once companies such as Google, PayPal and so forth became successful. Feel free to go read it. It’s kinda long but worth the time. Nevertheless, here is the paragraph that I feel is the money quote:
Tech

Exclusive: Controversial Angel Investor Dave McClure Tells All

[credit provider=”Joi via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/4433093249/”] We had a chance to talk to angel investor Dave McClure earlier this week, prior to the announcement of 500 Startups’ new accelerator program.We met in the company’s 12th-floor offices high over downtown Mountain View, with a view of San Francisco 20 miles to the […]
Exclusive: Controversial Angel Investor Dave McClure Tells All
Tech

Entrepreneurs And Investors: Focus On Basecamp, Not The Summit

[credit provider=”Mark Suster”] A few months ago I wrote a post called “Invest in Lines, Not Dots.” It was my investment philosophy that observing teams’ performance over time was far more insightful than reacting to how good of a product demo they do, how good they present Powerpoint slides or […]
Entrepreneurs And Investors: Focus On Basecamp, Not The Summit
Tech

Don’t Mistake VCs For Your Friends

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not understanding the relationship they have with their investors. At times they confuse VC’s with their friends.
Don’t Mistake VCs For Your Friends
Tech

Accel Hires eHarmony Leader As CEO-In-Residence

[credit provider=”eHarmony”] Accel Partners has hired Greg Waldorf, the founding investor and most recent CEO of online dating site eHarmony, as the venture firm’s CEO in residence.Waldorf will work with Accel’s portfolio companies to identify new ventures that could define their categories.
Accel Hires eHarmony Leader As CEO-In-Residence
Strategy

Meeting With An Investor? Read This First

[credit provider=”Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfbps/4597079038/”] Money is the lifeblood of any business, and at some point, every company is likely to need an outside infusion to help it grow. Whether you’re seeking a $1 million in venture capital or $1,000 from friends or relatives, you’ll need to nail down a few basics […]
Meeting With An Investor? Read This First
Tech

Should You Sell Your Company?

Sittin’ up drunk shuffling thoughts Got paper but I’m lost Losing focus what a n#%$a still hustin’ for? My seed is straight the family’s settled Idle time get the man in trouble —Nas, Suicide Bounce
Should You Sell Your Company?
Tech

The Private IPO

Yes, I realise that’s a contradiction, but it seems to capture the essence of deals such as Goldman’s investment in Facebook at a $50B valuation and Groupon’s half-complete $950 million fundraising effort.  These deals are designed to provide significant liquidity for insiders (especially early investors and employees), provide a piggy […]
The Private IPO
Tech

Putting Groupon’s Gigantic $950 Million Raise In Context

[credit provider=”The DEMO Conference/Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/democonference/4993191359/sizes/l/in/photostream/”] In July we marveled at the fact that Zynga, which just makes Facebook games, has raised a whopping $410 million in funding.Well, today Groupon blew past Zynga with a half raised round of funding.
Putting Groupon’s Gigantic $950 Million Raise In Context
Strategy

Why You Should Make Your Competitors Your Frenemies

Yesterday I wrote about how to talk to investors about your competitors.  In short, acknowledge they exist, be transparent about strengths & weaknesses and use your differences to talk about how you want to position yourself in the market.
Why You Should Make Your Competitors Your Frenemies
Tech

LivingSocial Was Almost Toast, But A Quick Pivot Saved It

Social deals site LivingSocial is one of 2010’s biggest tech success stories, snapping up two quick rounds of funding early in the year and a big investment of $175 million from Amazon in December. But as cofounder and CTO Aaron Batalion explains in a YouTube video posted yesterday, the company […]
LivingSocial Was Almost Toast, But A Quick Pivot Saved It
Strategy

The Entrepreneur/Investor Covenant

Starting a company is really, really hard. Helping entrepreneurs start and build companies is really, really hard. Much has been written about the mechanics of entrepreneur/investor interaction, from how to pitch investors, structure the round, assemble board decks, undertake strategic planning, etc. But after more than six years of seed […]
The Entrepreneur/Investor Covenant
Strategy

Doubling Down On The Overpay

One thing I’ve seen many VCs do wiith their initial investment in a company is invest more when the valuation gets expensive. They are ownership driven, not valuation driven. So if they originally wanted to invest $4mm at a $20mm post money valuation and buy 20% of the company, they […]
Doubling Down On The Overpay
Strategy

Why It’s Critical That You Reference Check Your VC

I was recently speaking with some founders about their fund raising process.  They had received a term sheet from a VC and were wondering whether to work with this firm.  I personally had three separate data points from entrepreneurs who took money from the firm that said “never again.”
Why It’s Critical That You Reference Check Your VC
Strategy

Should Entrepreneurs Pay To Pitch To Investors?

If you are new to the startup space and angel investing, you probably don’t realise that some groups of angel investors charge entrepreneurs a fee to pitch to their groups. This practice has caused a rousing debate among key players, with some calling it a scam, and others defending it […]
Should Entrepreneurs Pay To Pitch To Investors?
Strategy

How To Close An Angel Round

When trying to get an angel round done, the key question is how much you need to have raised to hold a first close. Most rounds I’ve been involved with have lower and upper bounds, e.g., $400k first close, $750k maximum raise. The goal here is to get to $400k […]
How To Close An Angel Round
Strategy

On Raising A Fund – The IA Ventures Story

This past Thursday it was announced that my first fund, IA Ventures, had closed with $50 million in commitments from a group of fantastic investors. Brad, Ben, Justin and I couldn’t be more proud or excited, especially at the confidence and belief our investors have shown in us and in […]
On Raising A Fund – The IA Ventures Story
Strategy

Are Super Angels Extinct?

[credit provider=”Dinosaur via Wikimedia Commons”] This is part of my ongoing Series on Angel Investing.As we all know by now, all the major-league super angels have pretty much raised their own small funds of late. Conway’s got SV Angel, Senkut runs Felicis, Maples runs Floodgate, Sacca’s got lowercase capital, McClure of course runs 500 Hats, and […]
Are Super Angels Extinct?
Strategy

Is It OK To Want To Make Money?

This past October I was invited by Steve Blank to speak at Stanford for their Enterprise Thought Leader (ETL) series.  The topic I chose to speak about was “lessons on starting a company” but I created the sub-title in class “a Silicon Valley heresy” since my goal was to slay many […]
Is It OK To Want To Make Money?
Tech

Sorry, But This “Tech Bubble 2.0” Talk Is Ridiculous

Fresh on the heels of Groupon rejecting a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google, both the New York Times and Newsweek are talking about tech entering into a new bubble.Some early stage angel investors are warning about a stampede of “dumb money” into the sector, and some famous angels (Chris […]
Sorry, But This “Tech Bubble 2.0” Talk Is Ridiculous
Strategy

Pulling Back The Curtain – The Mess

[credit provider=”Hsing Wei via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/hsing/3606052158/”] If there is one consistent knock against the venture capital industry, it is the opacity of the fundraising process.The rise of the highly-insightful, ethical and transparent venture investor blogger, e.g., Brad Feld, Mark Suster and Fred Wilson, has helped shed some light from the […]
Pulling Back The Curtain – The Mess
Tech

Invest In The Mess

There’s a front page story in the NY Times today about the hyperactivity in web startupland. They quote from a few posts I’ve made on this blog and I think Jenna and Evelyn did a nice job with the story.
Invest In The Mess
Strategy

Staying In The Game

[credit provider=”Akaporn Bhothisuwan via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/akaporn/246506082/”] The old investing adage “Cut losers short; let winners run” provides a valuable reminder of how to achieve superior returns, but misses one essential element: bet sizing.In venture investing there are really two key metrics: (1) mortality rate (batting average); and (2) average bet […]
Staying In The Game
Tech

Meet The Soon-To-Be Groupon Billionaires

[credit provider=”DLD”] Groupon filed for a $750 million IPO today.The S1 filing assumes that there will be about 296 million shares floated as of June 11, but doesn’t reveal how Groupon expects those shares to be priced — those details will be worked out by the bankers closer to the […]
Meet The Soon-To-Be Groupon Billionaires
Strategy

IPO Anxiety On The East Coast, Part 1: Massachusetts

[credit provider=”Banana via Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bananas_still_worried.jpg”] Bill Gurley’s excellent piece on Silicon Valley IPO Anxiety inspired me to take a companion look at the East Coast, particularly Massachusetts and New York, and evaluate the health of the local IPO economy and prospective pipeline. Today, I’ll cover Massachusetts; tomorrow, New York.I first came […]
IPO Anxiety On The East Coast, Part 1: Massachusetts
Strategy

The AVC Network

Disqus (a portfolio company of USV) has rolled out a really sweet analytics service as part of its “add ons” that were released a few weeks ago.
The AVC Network
Strategy

Don’t Celebrate Until The Ink Is Dry And The Cash Is In The Bank

[credit provider=”melalouise via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/melalouise/341692249/”] Recently I wrote a blog post about how I hated losing, but I embrace it as a way to learn, improve and increase my win rates.You’re Most Vulnerable Right After You’ve Won the Deal One of the things I learned from my “post-game analysis” is […]
Don’t Celebrate Until The Ink Is Dry And The Cash Is In The Bank
Tech

Chasing Returns

I’ve spent much of this long weekend curled up on the couch reading Too Big To Fail, Andrew Ross Sorkin‘s history of the financial crisis of 2008. I’ve wanted to read this book since it came out last year but it took me a while to get to it. I’m […]
Chasing Returns
Tech

Why Startups Don’t Want Corporate VC Money

In this week’s Observer, Leon Neyfakh wrote about AOL Ventures, the venture capital arm of the former dial-up monolith that’s working to reinvigorate their image and get their hands dirty with investments in the New York tech scene.
Why Startups Don’t Want Corporate VC Money
Strategy

6 Steps To Scaling Like A VC-Backed Company, Without The VC

Most early-stage technology startups dream of VC financing. It can fund explosive growth, put a company on the startup map, and allow hungry entrepreneurs to eat again. But, being flush with venture capital, especially early on, can force many startups to scale too quickly, only to crash and burn.  
6 Steps To Scaling Like A VC-Backed Company, Without The VC
Strategy

Entrepreneurs: Stop Hiding Behind E-mails And Pick Up The Phone

[credit provider=”Mark Warner via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/senatormarkwarner/4154260500/”] All this heavy talk about angels, VCs, bubbles lately. I thought I’d go for a more tactical and practical post today: The art of the quick phone call.I had breakfast with David Tisch the other morning in NYC. If you don’t know David, he’s […]
Entrepreneurs: Stop Hiding Behind E-mails And Pick Up The Phone
Strategy

Turning Ideas Into Companies

For years I have been giving those with good ideas (I won’t call them entrepreneurs because they haven’t necessarily decided to drop everything to pursue their dream) the following advice: share, listen, revise, share, listen, revise, rinse, repeat…
Turning Ideas Into Companies