Statistically, startups mostly fail. We love to think of ourselves as great investors. But Venture Capital fundamentals still didn't change: Fund returns are driven by outliers, and returns are concentrated in few firms. All VCs are constantly evolving and refining their thinking, processes, conviction. That's why we write long investment memos: Not because be need … Continue reading Venture Capital: Preparing for Failure.
If your employees had magically one additional workday more per week than your competitor, what would you have them work on? If you would magically have $50,000 more budget per week, what would you spend it on? Many startups are struggling with pricing when their product or solution is saving cost or time (or both): … Continue reading The Most Important Pricing Questions for Cost Saving and Efficiency Products
"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
The number of new early-stage VC funds with a focus on US-based pre-seed, seed, and early-stage startups grew from 163 (vintage 2014) to 490 (vintage 2019) . As I wrote two weeks ago in "Rapid Decline of New U.S.-based IT Startups", the number of newly founded US startups in information technology declined from 5,856 (2014) … Continue reading US: More Early-Stage VC Funds are Targeting Fewer Startups
"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.
Don't pick up. "I think you have the wrong number. We are a commercial waste processor for pig and cow cadavers." "I'm just an end user. I don't know who made the buying decision, or why. It's what we were told to use." "I am just an end user. I don't know what our budget … Continue reading Sales — Five fast ways to get rid of unwanted sales calls.
We hear about the "Startup A-team" both from our portfolio companies and in pitches. So what's the bar for a Startup A-team? And how do you rank people within an A-team of a Startup? Regardless of industry, I always recommend looking at the "USMC Fitness Report (1610)" as a starting point. Yes, it is from … Continue reading Jocko on Startups: What’s an A-Team?
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.
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.”