What exactly is an API team?

I believe this question is conflating two completely separate concepts:

An API is an Application Programming Interface, a set of computer instructions that allow different programs or systems to communicate with each other. That’s how Quora can post your answers to Twitter, or allow you to log in to Quora with your LinkedIn account.

An API Team is simply the group of people (typically software programmers and product managers) within a company who design. develop, market and support users of the company’s API. Read more

8 Tips On How Much Money To Ask For From Investors

Image via SVTuition.org

Startups ask me “How much money should I ask for?” The simple answer is the absolute minimum amount you need to make your plan work. Some entrepreneurs try to start with a huge number, hoping they can negotiate and close on a smaller one, while others understate their requirements, in hopes of getting their foot in the door with an investor.

Neither of these strategies is a good one, as both are likely to damage your credibility with potential investors, even before they look hard at your plan. Here are the parameters you should use in sizing your request, and be able to explain in justifying your request to investors: Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
October 20th, 2013

I want to start investing in the tech industry (seed stage and/or stock market investing). What resources are good for evaluating a company in this niche and learning more about the industry?

The two possible approaches mentioned in the question are very, very different from each other.

Investing in public technology stocks in the stock market (such as Google, Apple, and many smaller companies) is something that anyone can do, can be started with a very small amount of money, can be experimented with before committing (by establishing a ‘shadow portfolio’), can be easily unwound, and for which there is an enormous amount of instruction, advice and industry news available.

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How does a startup replace an executive?

This is one of the trickiest situations, and for a tech-based startup where the Founder/CEO is not him- or herself a tech person, it may well be THE trickiest situation.

In large part it comes down to the integrity and personality of the CTO, and the quality of the relationship with the CEO. If both are straight-shooting professionals, then a full, private, direct discussion/negotiation is probably in order. Read more

Investors Look First At The Founder, Then The Idea

James H. Clark photo via Wikipedia Commons

Investors are people too. They evaluate you like you should assess a possible co-founder or first employee. What are your credentials? What have you done that would convince me that my money is safe in your hands? Only after they see you as fundable, do they want to assess your plan for fundability, not the other way around.

Even with great credentials, it is all too possible for an entrepreneur to come across as a high risk investment. Here are some “rules of thumb” that indicate a marketable and experienced entrepreneur: Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
October 14th, 2013