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

Up-to-date Investors Want Social Proof from Startups

I just read Social Proof Is the New Currency on the Social Media Today blog. Author Daniel Lay writes: 

Whether you like Mark Zuckerberg’s mug or not, the social web is here to stay, and businesses that can integrate social proof into their marketing efforts seamlessly will join this new “socially rich” class. We mean richness in fans and followers, not number of

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Corporate Perks Will Doom Your Entrepreneur Dreams

Image via ExecutiveSky.ch

I hear many executives and professionals in large corporations talking about their dream of jumping ship, and starting their own company. What they don’t realize is that the longer they wait, the more big-company habits they are acquiring, which will make their eventual decision harder and entrepreneurial efforts less and less likely to succeed.

Certainly, the longer they

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What is the difference between a vertical and a horizontal market?

vertical market is one in which all of your customers are in one particular industry, regardless of where in the food chain they are. For example, the siteNoodle.org is a vertical search engine for the education industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a kindergarten class, an Ivy League college, or an adult education polka dancing course, it covers its industry

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What’s the right way to interface with potential investors a couple of months prior to starting a funding round?

My thoughts on this have changed a bit over time, as the general pace of—and level of activity in—the startup world has begun to hyper-accelerate. It’s always a good idea to be able to approach someone with whom you’ve had at least a nodding relationship, because that immediately differentiates you from a pure, over-the-transom funding request, and you are much

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6 Tips For Entrepreneurs Who Think They Can Dance

Image via Meetup.com

I’m not much of a television person, but my family loves one of the popular “reality” shows, called “So You Think You Can Dance,” so I’m sort of forced to watch it every week. Over time, I’ve concluded that even startup entrepreneurs can learn a few things from this one. Of course, you must ignore the pomp

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Is the Marketing Strategy not important in a business plan when pitching to VCs?

Marketing strategy actually is quite important to most investors. The bottom line is that if no one shows up to buy or use your product, it doesn’t matter one whit how cool or great or innovative it is. And investors do not like top-down projections (“we’ll get a 10% market share…”). They very much want to see how you are going to get your first customer,

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Your Venture Is All About You, Not Your Invention

Image via IntellectualVentures.com

If you expect to succeed in the thrill-a-minute, roller coaster ride of a startup, let me assure you it takes more than a good idea, a rich uncle, and luck. In fact, the idea is often the least important part of the equation. Most investors tell me that they look at the people first, the business plan

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What percentage of a Series A round is typically invested by the lead investor?

This is changing as the whole world of venture/angel/seed funding is rapidly morphing, but typically a ‘real’ Series A round is small enough for one traditional venture fund to do the whole thing itself. Very occasionally, they might split it with another fund, but that would probably be the exception.

What we are often seeing, however, is large-ish “seed” rounds of

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How to Pitch Investors and Get Funded Webinar

Wondering how to get investors’ attention or how to deliver a perfect pitch? Gust has teamed up with LivePlan to equip you with the best tips for pitching investors and expert advice to increase your chances of getting funded. Join us for this revealing webinar, How to Pitch and Get Funded, on November 20th at 1pm ET (10am PT). The

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What should you know in order to start a crowdfunding startup in US?

Equity-based crowdfunding (that is, providing regular people with the opportunity to purchase stock in private companies) will not be legal in the US until the first quarter of 2013 at the earliest. At that time, any company planning to operate as a “funding portal” will have to comply with an extensive set of rules and regulations established by the U.S. Securities and

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