Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

Are there any crowd funding options for tech start-ups not tied to just supporting projects?

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has very strict rules about who can raise investment funds for privately held businesses, and how they are allowed to go about doing it.  At the moment, this is primarily limited to raising money from very rich people who qualify as Accredited Investors, and with whom you already have a pre-existing relationship.

Are balance sheets or profit and loss statements necessary to produce for early stage startups with no revenue?

Investors absolutely need to know the specific financial status of a company before they invest, because they are going to be part owners of the business. How much would you be willing pay someone to take over their bank account if you had no idea how much was in it?

So yes, it is absolutely standard practice for investors to require both existing financials that

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Entrepreneurs Need Experience More Than An MBA

I don’t have an MBA. I used to fear that this would put me at a disadvantage in starting my own company, but now I’m convinced that it may be the other way around. In some reputable surveys, as many as two-thirds of entrepreneurs felt that their entrepreneurial spirit was more ingrained than learned, so a specific education level is

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What are some things that truly committed angel investors do for startups?

The ideal angel investor would spend a great deal of his/her time working on behalf of the company in support of the CEO, in every way other than being a full-time employee.

In addition to doing the kinds of things that anyone (employee, friend, parent, founder, etc.) could do (referring customers, tweeting out news, suggesting ideas, checking out competitive sites, pointing out relevant

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As an investor, what are the most important items that a startup must have for you to invest?

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:

5 Keys To Effective Entrepreneurial Team Mentoring

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,

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Which angel investing journals are the most useful, either online or in print?

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

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What are some ways you can keep track of startups you are evaluating/diligencing/investing in?

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

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Managers: You Can’t Get Rid of the Bad Apples Fast Enough

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

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Entrepreneurs Relish The Challenge More Than Money

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

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