I had a consulting career more than a decade ago and thought the typical project triangle was well known (google it). That has an implication for startups, and it is an important reason why VCs often ask about the "10x-factor": Can you do something 10x faster? Can you do it 10x cheaper? Can you create … Continue reading Wallet-Share, Time-Share, People-Share
"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
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
Short answer: Don't. Don't worry about your industry focus (yet), unless you are clearly a vertical solution for a very specific industry; unless you and your first sales team only have experience in selling into one specific industry and have no other contacts and you are determined to keep only this team for a while … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Industry Focus.