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.”
When you work in a high-risk industry of startups -- whether as an entrepreneur, an employee, a VC, or a consultant -- there will be failures. You know that. And you are always surprised how much they hurt. You would think by now surely you've learned how to cope with it. It's painful and frustrating, … Continue reading Why Do You Keep Doing It?
I've written about Core, Near-Core and the Outfield. There will be scope creep. And the Definition of Core will continue to develop. With usually longer enterprise sales cycles that can be a problem. Ask your salespeople: Why are we in this account? This is especially true with Near-Core opportunities: There will be a class of … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Why Are We In This Account?
The last-mile delivery experience sucks. There are so many venture-capital-subsidized delivery services in the bay area. They double park, block traffic, dump the stuff on the front door, sheepishly smile if you happen to catch them, some even might utter a word or two. They are the workforce behind the "sharing economy" (I wonder who … Continue reading The Last-Mile Delivery Experience Sucks.
"If I ask CEO <x> about what your most transformational value on the board was over the last twelve months, what would she say?" My firm also invests in other venture capital funds, known as 'fund-of-funds'. I recently met a long-time friend from a great fund in enterprise software who I deeply respect. When I asked … Continue reading Do you Know Your Transformational Value?
Most Enterprise markets are somewhat finite regarding the number of customers: F1000 by definition has exactly 1,000 companies (d'oh!). Getting new customers is good. That usually comes in cycles: yay, the first customer! Oh no, who's next? I think I figured it out.... Darn copy-cats! You will hit the point where competition isn't sleeping anymore. … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Don’t Forget ARPU Expansion.
Talk about burying the lead: "The competitive strength of Tesla is not going to be the car; it's going to be the factory," Musk said. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/02/tesla-loses-another-675-million-in-q4-its-biggest-quarterly-loss-yet/ Car manufacturers have known that for years (though some seemed to have forgotten about it) If you ever toured the factory floor of BMW in Munich, you know how … Continue reading Production, not Product, as Competitive Strength
First off: You should have a great product. It's pointless to try and "fix" revenue growth if you don't have a great product. But perhaps you have too many products, or your prospects don't understand what you stand for, or your operations are less than optimal. [At the end of this post I will include … Continue reading SaaS: Should You Fix EBITDA Margins or Revenue Growth?
Europe seems to be on a roll. The European venture industry in 2017 saw €16.9Bn in venture capital deal value, a 13% increase year-over-year . And "2017 proved to be a rebound year for VC-backed IPOs, which raised over €3 billion across 53 offerings."  The SuperReturn/SuperVenture conference in Berlin was drinking its own Kool-Aid, and … Continue reading Dangerous Paths of European Venture Capital.
At some point, every CEO is a first-time CEO. I've met and worked with phenomenal first- time CEOs. They had all internalized leadership lessons from their mentors and bosses, and had a clear vision about cultural norms and responsibilities to their companies. As a venture capital investor, I wish some of them also were more … Continue reading What I wish first-time CEOs would know.