Set Your Online Reputation Before Someone Else Does

Image via Flickr by krossbow

Image via Flickr by krossbow

These days, your online Internet reputation is your reputation. Of course, having no reputation is usually better than a bad one, but don’t wait for someone else to establish a good one for you. It’s time for every business and business person to proactively create a positive presence, before someone else puts you in a defensive mode that is hard to win.

The first step in the process is to claim your online identity. This is simple in concept, but requires real effort and can be time consuming, and even expensive, if someone gets there before you and tries to sell you the rights to your preferred business or personal domain name. See my Forbes article on “Get A Domain Name Without Bankrupting Your StartupRead more

How do US venture capital firms view an entrepreneur who decides to go for funding to the US with a business plan, and then will need a visa?

The disappointing fact is that this is a highly, highly unlikely scenario, for several reasons.

The most important is that venture capital firms simply do not fund business plans. They fund companies. There are several excellent explanations hereas to why this is the case, but the bottom line is that VCs are able to fund only one out of every 400 companies who approach them, and thus the bar is set very high for what is considered “fundable”. For US VC-level financing, this will typically mean a company that is fully operating, is based here in the US, has already secured a seed round investment, has a finished (or nearly finished) product, and is already generating revenues of some kind. Other reasons have to do with the fact that H1B visas (which is probably what you are talking about) are available only to foreign nationals who are already employed by an existing US company, and require documentation you are unlikely to have. Read more

Founder’s Stock Is Gold, If You Know The Rules

Image via Flickr by BullionVault

Image via Flickr by BullionVault

In reality, so-called “Founder’s” shares are simply common stock, issued at the time of startup incorporation, for a very low price, and normally allocated to the multiple initial players commensurate with their investment or role. But that’s only the beginning of the story.

These shares are allocated and committed, but not really issued and owned (vested) until later. Typically, vesting in startups occurs monthly over 4 years, starting with the first 25% of such shares vesting only after the employee has remained with the company for at least 12 months (one year “cliff”). Vesting always stops when an employee leaves the company. Read more

What does it feel like to invest in a failed startup as an angel investor?

It’s not great…but it IS part of the business.

  • If you are an angel investor, the only way to do it is to take things very seriously.
  • If you take angel investing seriously, you should aim to develop a portfolio of at least 30-40 investments over 5-10 years of active investing.
  • If you invest in 40 startups, 20 of them (absolute minimum!) are going to fail.
  • If you can’t psychologically take the complete failure of at least one company (let alone 20 or more), then you shouldn’t be angel investing in the first place. Read more