Sounds obvious. So I am puzzled when I get pitches where the basic parameters of investment returns are not met. There are many different types of venture capital investors. You should know which type of investor you are talking to. So here's one real example from last month: We're selling an edge appliance for IoT … Continue reading Pitch Clinic: VC Investments Need Hyper-Growth (D’oh!) — Excel Worksheet Attached.
I know you have a great product. I wouldn't be talking to you otherwise. But I am not a customer. I am a potential investor. As the CEO, you have been juggling all sorts of crisis situations over the past year, and you have been at the forefront of selling, probably meeting with customers and … Continue reading Pitch Clinic: Sell Stock, not Product
Benchmarks are great to tell you where you are compared to others. In venture capital, there are three common problems with benchmarks: History, math, and ego. 1. Benchmarks are History Benchmarks are backward looking. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Maybe market mechanics changed. Maybe the supply and demand of startup funding in … Continue reading The Pitfalls of Benchmarks.
[There are countless obvious lessons from Jocko's books and podcasts that apply to all people and all companies. Here are some insights that might be less obvious from the last #muster.] Some VCs talk about startups needing to be paranoid, with an obsessive attention to what is going on in the environment around them. I … Continue reading Jocko and Startups: Default Aggressive.
We've got this awesome team and we're doing <insert-cool-stuff-here>. None of <insert-public-companies-here> can do that. We're light years ahead of them! I love great teams. Which investor doesn't. But just because you have not heard of any group within <insert-public-companies-here> doesn't mean they can't do it. In fact, any pitch about a unique technical skill … Continue reading Pitch Clinic: “Noone else is doing it!”
Enterprise CTOs or CIOs often ask me about how IT will change in the future, about the "Disruption of Technology in 3-5 years". Most CTOs and CIOs realize that that is primarily a strategic question rather than a question about a certain vendor or technology. I usually explore the specific challenges together with the executive … Continue reading The Future of IT: The Next Five Years.
[There are countless obvious lessons from Jocko's books and podcasts that apply to all people and all companies. Here are some insights that might be less obvious from the last #muster.] As board members and VC investors, we often get asked: "What are your other companies and CEOs doing? Am I a good leader?" Most … Continue reading Jocko and Startups: Am I a good Leader?
After the last blog post (Startups: Don't compete on "nimble" and "cash burn.") I got a lot of questions on how to look at these public companies with negative EBITDA or negative Net Income. Here are some ideas. Dataset 1: Public Companies with Negative EBITDA Some companies have a negative EBITDA, but massive revenue growth, … Continue reading Datasets for Public Companies with Negative EBITDA or Net Income
Fifteen years ago I was sitting on a panel with senior executives of large enterprises. We were discussing how startups, with their limited resources, are competing against established, well-funded public enterprises. A Corporate R&D executive of a public company quipped: Publicly traded companies usually can't afford to lose money. Internet companies and startups can, at … Continue reading Startups: Don’t compete on “nimble” and “cash burn”.
Thorsten,We are raising our Series B now. We have a great lead investor. One of our strategic partners and suppliers also wants to invest: they want to participate with $4.5 million, almost 30% of the round. I'm not so much concerned about the signaling effect, but about the alignment of investor interest: assures me they … Continue reading CVCs and Financial Returns.