Sales people have to close deals. The VP of Sales has to make sure to hit her quarterly target. Everyone hates the deals that are stalling, that seem to be stuck. As a board member, I have to be strategic. Slow-moving deals are a unique opportunity to uncover systemic problems in the sales motion, reveal … Continue reading Sales — Five reasons why I love slow moving deals.
[Earlier I wrote about the different vehicles] You're sitting on a board and the CEO presents some proposed grants. Motion to approve - second - all in favor - ay. Here's what you should have asked before the board meeting. A. Economics What's the vesting schedule? What are these options worth right now? What do … Continue reading Board Questions to ask about Stock Options, NSOs, ISOs, Restricted Stock, Restricted Stock Units (RSUs).
There are enough primers on the Internet. This is not a primer. But take it as a discussion guideline with your board, your lawyers, your executives. Types of Equity Awards Options An option is a contract between a startup and an "optionee" (mostly employees, but could be contractors or board members) that provide a right … Continue reading Five Areas of Startup Equity Awards Boards Should Discuss.
My office shed is getting quite old now. Every year my wife and I are discussing how to rebuild it, "for sure this year!" But for now, I needed a dehumidifier. It's a good reminder that every sale has three stages -- and that's true for up-selling as well. Stage 1: Do I really need … Continue reading Sales — Do you know what stage you’re in?
[Disclaimer 1: This is not a primer on Brexit -- google it.] [Disclaimer 2: I'm not a lawyer, consult your own!] GDPR and Brexit The GDPR came into force on May 25th, 2018, and is applicable in the UK. It is implemented through the UK Data Protection Act 2018 (short: "DPA") and will remain applicable … Continue reading EU / UK / U.S. Data Transfers after Brexit.
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!”