Your fiercest Competition is your VCs’ Other Portfolio Companies.

If you believe you have a great startup, then I hope you have a great product. And, naturally, you will have competition. Gartner is not going to create a magic quadrant for a new huge market with only a single company in it.  Your product should be awesome. You should strive to find product-market-fit fast. … Continue reading Your fiercest Competition is your VCs’ Other Portfolio Companies.

The Flipside of Venture Capital.

[This post appeared first as a comment on Blue Dot Partners' blog, Perspectives. Philippe Bouissou wrote a post that resonated with me about The Two Types of Businesses.  There are two very different types of businesses. The motivations that drive entrepreneurs behind them are quite orthogonal. Both types of businesses are critical to creating a … Continue reading The Flipside of Venture Capital.

(Im)prove Yourself when Fundraising.

I saw two fund-raising pitches in the last two weeks with pseudo portfolios -- there must have been a recent book or blog post about it. Both had pseudo portfolios of seed rounds they've "seen" and "would have invested in if they had the money". The two pitches were very different. The first one was … Continue reading (Im)prove Yourself when Fundraising.

“I’ll get liquidity in the secondary market.”

Please see my Disclaimer. As previously mentioned, venture-backed companies are getting much older before their exit. But the percentage of $100M+ exits grew by 18.7% when comparing the last 365 days with 2013. The increasing share of larger exits is good news for VCs -- if they can get liquidity! Because the percentage of venture-backed … Continue reading “I’ll get liquidity in the secondary market.”

Meaningful exits in IT now take 11 years from first funding.

For B2B and enterprises IT startups, the median number of years between the first round of venture funding and a meaningful exit greater than $350M is now about 11 years. That's 4.5 years longer than in 2014. I ran a quick Pitchbook search for Venture-backed Information Technology companies, Excluding the B2C segment, With IPOs and … Continue reading Meaningful exits in IT now take 11 years from first funding.

VC Funding and “Going Earlier for Better Access.”

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 don’t know.”

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.”

It’s not done until it’s done.

Deals seem to fall apart last second. Investors step away from their commitment. A large customers is having some hiccups just when you're closing the round. A partner leaves the venture firm just when you're trying to get the signatures. A clause with the employee stock options pool confuses a corporate investor and they put … Continue reading It’s not done until it’s done.

Developer-centric Startups for Critical Applications

Most DevOps centric startups are focusing on the Dev, not the Ops. Many tools and startups start in Test & Dev (versus "production" or "in-revenue" applications). But really hard problems in DevOps are often connected to in-revenue, critical applications. These applications have real-time and high-availability requirements and "exactly-once" execution of commands. I have the privilege … Continue reading Developer-centric Startups for Critical Applications

Corporate Venture Capital Pitfalls.

I'll start to spend my money calling everybody honey And I'll wind up singing the blues I'll spend my whole paycheck on some old wreck And brother I can name you a few Willie Nelson sings in I Gotta Get Drunk. Surely he must have meant Corporate Venture Capital groups, or "CVCs" for short. Different corporations … Continue reading Corporate Venture Capital Pitfalls.