Venture-backed startups are staying private longer (no news here). But how much longer? As venture capital investors, we are trying to learn from past mistakes and successes. And we need to calibrate for different market environments. A recent observation is that the sideways exits below $100M in deal value are vanishing. Startups keep going until … Continue reading Go Long. And Go Big or Go Home.
The story of these VCs usually goes like this: "We're starting to write very small checks much earlier. That way we can track company progress from the inside and are aware of any challenges or problems early on. We believe we can then also discern inflection points much earlier than other outside investors. We might … Continue reading VC Funding and “Going Earlier for Better Access.”
I remember one sentence from the many books I read while doing business in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia: Your relative power in a negotiation is your capacity to use resources to influence another’s circumstances. In 1962, Richard Emerson published Power-Dependence Relations. I found that Richard's focus on "In how many ways can I demonstrate my … Continue reading Negotiations: Focus on What You Don’t Know.
VCs are knowledge workers -- we convince our LPs that we know something worthwhile to justify our fees and carry we charge. There are two problems: The inherent intangibility of knowledge work; and the fact that liquidity events might take between five to nine years. You don't know if you were right until half a … Continue reading Stop Working.
Last Christmas break (wow - nine months ago!) I watched Laura Vanderkam's great 11-minute TED talk on "How to gain control of your free time". Rather than say "I don't have time to do x, y or z," she would say "I don't do x, y or z because it's not a priority." "I don't have time," often … Continue reading Priorities and Time Management.
We've seen a recent wave of cash washing over innovations in autonomous driving, ML, sensors. Granted: that chart is dominated by Zoox's $790M and Xpeng's $708M investment levels [edited: Xpeng announced another $587M on August 3rd!], but you get the idea. I pay close attention when segments start capturing more "wallet share" of investors than … Continue reading Investing in Autonomous Transportation.
The management-craze of "bring me solutions" has gone too far. I recently met with two spin-out teams of enterprises where the engineers and interim-CEO were scared to share any challenges or problems with corporate management because they were expected to be more "solutions-oriented." When I went back to one of the senior executives with a problem … Continue reading Bring me Problems.
lindsey.a.elliott Every day -- silently, and without notice -- we cross invisible thresholds to who we are becoming. It explains that feeling of waking up and not recognizing your life, or how you got there. A disorientation I often feel in the craze of entrepreneurship. These words from David Whyte reminded me to take notice -- … Continue reading “Every Day we cross invisible thresholds to who we are becoming.”
You think you are the superstar sales guy. Or you are the CEO and are telling me that you have a superstar sales team. This is what I would expect from you: Run our play. if the play doesn't work we are changing the play. But you have to run the play. You have to … Continue reading Superstar Sales: Run The Play.
As an investor, I am more interested in finding out where knowledge ends and where a discovery process starts. It's astonishing in how many pitches entrepreneurs avoid "I don't know" and instead suddenly change topics or point to a statistic where when asked they cannot explain how that would be relevant to the question. "I … Continue reading “I don’t know.”