Grab your CEO and have lunch. Chances are, she has once started just like you. And everybody has to eat at some point. Here are some questions that are great for getting some insights on strategy, challenges, and culture -- even if you only have five minutes: What the biggest frustration in your job? What's … Continue reading Lunch with Your CEO: 7 Great Questions to Ask.
It is confusing for me why people are talking about "we're using AI to do <XYZ>". AI is a system, not a technology. You need to operate with the system. You cannot replace a specific technology or platform with AI if you don't replace all the systems as well. AI is a system of: People … Continue reading AI is a System, not a Technology.
Angel, seed, and early-stage venture capital investments are getting more and more expensive over the last 10 years. Investors write larger checks but don't get more ownership at the same rate. Last Monday, Pitchbook released their 1H 2019 Valuation Report (data as of 06/30/2019). The report has interesting charts, such as: Two charts from PitchBook's … Continue reading Early-stage Ownership is Getting More Expensive for Angels, VCs
The number of new early-stage VC funds with a focus on US-based pre-seed, seed, and early-stage startups grew from 163 (vintage 2014) to 490 (vintage 2019) . As I wrote two weeks ago in "Rapid Decline of New U.S.-based IT Startups", the number of newly founded US startups in information technology declined from 5,856 (2014) … Continue reading US: More Early-Stage VC Funds are Targeting Fewer Startups
"Every A-round is $10M nowadays. That's the new norm. There is too much money in the market." I think I carelessly quipped something along these lines in the past three weeks. And I was wrong. I had fallen into the average-bias of VC-world, into false signaling of few outliers. As I wrote earlier (and so … Continue reading Massive Early-Stage Funding — I Was Wrong.
The number of new IT startups with headquarters in the U.S. is rapidly declining. There are less and less IT startups founded every year since 2013. I was looking for something else at Pitchbook but stumbled over this massive decline: Startups founded by year with primary focus on Information Technology ("IT") and headquarter in the … Continue reading Rapid Decline of New U.S.-based IT Startups
Fred Wilson has written about Un-SAFE notes. In a nutshell: they're not less expensive, and they hide some dilution problems when stacked. Because that's not always obvious, here is an Excel Worksheet to play around with. >> Download the Excel Worksheet. << The worksheet uses some circular references, so go to File > Options > … Continue reading SAFE Notes – Excel Worksheet Attached
Don't pick up. "I think you have the wrong number. We are a commercial waste processor for pig and cow cadavers." "I'm just an end user. I don't know who made the buying decision, or why. It's what we were told to use." "I am just an end user. I don't know what our budget … Continue reading Sales — Five fast ways to get rid of unwanted sales calls.
We hear about the "Startup A-team" both from our portfolio companies and in pitches. So what's the bar for a Startup A-team? And how do you rank people within an A-team of a Startup? Regardless of industry, I always recommend looking at the "USMC Fitness Report (1610)" as a starting point. Yes, it is from … Continue reading Jocko on Startups: What’s an A-Team?
Dave Kellogg is an outstanding leader and thinker -- go and follow his blog posts if you're not already doing so. He has a lot of good advice on planning and spending after getting funding ("post-funding"). Two of my portfolio companies went through the pleasure of raising a new round of financing last month. There … Continue reading Post-Funding: Trigger Spend on Milestones, not Timeline.