- Large and growing market
- Real domain expertise
- Provable product need
- Scalable business model
- Competitive advantage
- Platform/partnership/bizdev/API strategy
- External validation (ideally traction and/or passionate customers)
- Viable business structure and cap table
- Reasonable valuation
- Proven team (tech/product/design/marketing/sales/domain/etc.)
But most important of all, it must have an entrepreneur on whom I’m willing to bet. And the attributes I look for in that entrepreneur are: Read more
Richard Branson photo via en.wikipedia.org
I’ve always wondered why every executive meeting has to be one hour in length, or longer. That’s probably a tenth of your day spent on one issue. It better be a critical one, because you have a hundred others waiting. I believe you can be much more productive, as well as a more effective leader, if you approach most meetings as mentoring opportunities, and limit them to five minutes.
In a traditional meeting, another person presents you with multiple options, and you make the decision. With the five-minute mentoring approach, the mentee asks for your support in their decision, or asks for your insight on the considerations for them making a future decision. Which approach do you think is more fulfilling for them, and best for your company in the long run? Read more
There are actually no angel investing ‘journals’ per se, because there simply are not enough active, professional angel investors to make a market :-). There are, however, quite a few blog posts on the subject, although most are written for an entrepreneurial audience, rather than angels themselves. And there is one really excellent weekly podcast to keep you up to speed. Read more
This is obviously a softball question that I’ve been Asked to Answer, as I’m the Founder/CEO of Gust. The answer, of course, is Gust—because that’s exactly the purpose behind the platform!
Gust is the infrastructure that underlies much of the professional world of early stage finance. It is used by hundreds of thousands of companies in 195 countries to organize all of their investor relations material; it is used by over a thousand angel investor networks, venture capital funds and startup accelerators to manage their deal flow and collaboration; and it is used by over 50,000 individual accredited angel investors in 75 countries to collaborate with their investor peers and keep track of the startups they are evaluating/ diligencing/ investing in. Read more
Academic snobs such as myself often place a lot of value on hard skills when hiring. No news here. Of course, we also look for great attitude and fit, given that so much – if not all – one conquers at the workplace nowadays is the result of collaboration and teamwork.
While most people in managerial positions agree with this approach at a hiring moment, there are often different perspectives when it comes to a potential firing moment.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. On the average, the entrepreneurs I know are living on Ramen noodles. But one thing they all seem to have in common is a love for learning and change. They rush in with a passion to better the world, and money is just an indication of their progress.
The successful ones then invest their time and money in furthering their knowledge base. I’m not talking about academic classes, because at best these only teach you how to learn. In these days of rapid change, most experts believe that the facts college students learn as a sophomore are obsolete before they exit their senior year.
I’ve written on this topic previously, including David S. Rose’s answer to Startups: What is the worst startup pitch ever?. While I’ve never laughed outright during a pitch, I’ve certainly had quite a few occasions where I had to work hard not to wince. The problems with bad pitches tend to fall into the following major categories: Read more