Massive Early-Stage Funding — I Was Wrong.

"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.

Rapid Decline of New U.S.-based IT Startups

The number of new IT startups with headquarters in the U.S. is rapidly declining. There are less and less IT startups founded every year since 2013. I was looking for something else at Pitchbook but stumbled over this massive decline: Startups founded by year with primary focus on Information Technology ("IT") and headquarter in the … Continue reading Rapid Decline of New U.S.-based IT Startups

Post-Funding: Trigger Spend on Milestones, not Timeline.

Dave Kellogg is an outstanding leader and thinker -- go and follow his blog posts if you're not already doing so. He has a lot of good advice on planning and spending after getting funding ("post-funding"). Two of my portfolio companies went through the pleasure of raising a new round of financing last month.  There … Continue reading Post-Funding: Trigger Spend on Milestones, not Timeline.

Sales: “I’m so glad I could help.”

Selling is a service. You are solving a real problem. You are addressing a valuable need -- doing nothing or doing the wrong thing could have catastrophic consequences for your customers . But if you are just selling to make your quota you are neither helping yourself nor are you helping your startup and executive … Continue reading Sales: “I’m so glad I could help.”

Sales Strategy — Selling a Product Versus Selling a Platform.

What does your customer want to buy? Are they using your product as a stepping stone or enabler to a much bigger transformation? Or are you part of a larger product and fit the puzzle? Are you selling a product or a platform? I listened into sales conversations at one of our startups. The product … Continue reading Sales Strategy — Selling a Product Versus Selling a Platform.

Sales — Five reasons why I love slow moving deals.

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.

Board Questions to ask about Stock Options, NSOs, ISOs, Restricted Stock, Restricted Stock Units (RSUs).

[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).

Five Areas of Startup Equity Awards Boards Should Discuss.

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.