Statistically, startups mostly fail. We love to think of ourselves as great investors. But Venture Capital fundamentals still didn't change: Fund returns are driven by outliers, and returns are concentrated in few firms. All VCs are constantly evolving and refining their thinking, processes, conviction. That's why we write long investment memos: Not because be need … Continue reading Venture Capital: Preparing for Failure.
If your employees had magically one additional workday more per week than your competitor, what would you have them work on? If you would magically have $50,000 more budget per week, what would you spend it on? Many startups are struggling with pricing when their product or solution is saving cost or time (or both): … Continue reading The Most Important Pricing Questions for Cost Saving and Efficiency Products
"We've created a Minimum Viable Product. It's doing well. Now we're focusing on repeatable sales motion." You probably created a minimum viable technology that could potentially address a need or be part of a product. You did not create an MVP. A product has a price, positioning, can clearly communicate a solution to a real … Continue reading MVP: “Viability” is Decided by the Market and not by You!
I had two pitches last week where the entrepreneurs were talking about huge billion Dollar markets ... but the initial "customers" they were talking to didn't feel the urgency and sales were lagging. "I know this is a huge market. There is a lot of research about it. We need to spend more money for … Continue reading Huge Markets with No Revenue: Initial Product-Market-Fit
I got a late-stage secondary opportunity today, shopped around by a bank. A major bank. They attached a list of comps and calculated the "risk": Enterprise Value to Revenue to Revenue growth (aka "EVRG"). It's almost worse than a Price-to-Earnings-to-Growth (aka "PEG") ratio. I think the idea here was that there is a high EV-to-Revenue … Continue reading Bullshit Metrics: PEG and EV/R/G
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.