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

Startups: A Verbal Wave at Social Media Means Diddly

Startups: Investors expect new marketing. The fundamentals still apply but tools and realities are different now. If you don’t understand the broader implications of social media, content marketing, curation, engagement, and relationships, then you desperately need a great reason why not. And don’t think you can just wave your hands at it.  You have to really know it.

Here’s are some

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Investors Do Not Fund Research And Development

Image via eesiflo.com

I still get business plans, looking for an investor, that say all too clearly that the primary “use of funds” will be to do research and development (R&D) on some promising new technology, like superconductivity or cancer cures. Entrepreneurs forget that investors are looking for commercial products to make money, rather than R&D sunk costs, so investment

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Who are the friendliest venture capitalists?

Interestingly, the large majority of venture capitalists are very friendly. It’s for the same reason that as a group, orthodontists tend almost universally to be more friendly than surgeons.

[“Whaaaa?!?”! I hear you ask. Think about it for a bit, and particularly if you’ve had personal experiences with either/both groups.]

The latter profession sees you by referral from another doctor, operates on

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How much time does it take for a VC to respond to a business plan?

Unfortunately, VCs do not typically review business plans. Instead they look at a brief summary, and then decide if they want to invite you in for a meeting.

10 Common Startup Flaws Leading To An Early Demise

Image via TheSocialRobot.com

Based on my experience as a mentor and an entrepreneur, if you fail on your first startup, you are about average. That’s not bad, but who wants to be average? Every young entrepreneur knows implicitly that startup success is a long hard road. Statistics show that the failure rate for new startups within the first 5 years

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Which angel investors are interested in crowdfunding startups?

Since equity crowdfunding under the recently passed JOBS Act will not be legal until some point next year, there is currently a great deal of smoke, although not necessarily a lot of fire, around new entrants into the space.  But taking a look at some operating US-based companies that currently come to mind when thinking about the space (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, AngelList, Gust, CircleUp),

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If a startup has an unreasonably high valuation in its F&F round, would Angels and VCs be concerned?

Yes, absolutely. In my experience, that may well be the #1 killer of deals that should otherwise happen.

Consider the math: if the F&F round is $60K for 1%, that means the ‘post investment’ valuation of the company is $6 million. If the company now approaches a professional investor such as a VC, angel group or serious angel, let’s say that

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When A Startup Chooses IPO Most Founders Are Out

Mark Zuckerberg photo via Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Many entrepreneurs still dream of “going public,” making billions of dollars, and playing with the big boys. They don’t realize that this option would likely be their worst nightmare, since it costs millions for the road show, usually dilutes your equity to a tiny fraction, and takes away all your entrepreneurial control. Consider the

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If you could work at any startup in New York City, where would you choose and why?

Well, I’m biased, but let me just describe yesterday’s Summer Outing at Gust:

For background, you should know that by long-standing company tradition, our outings are surprises. And that means a complete and total surprise to everyone, as in “not a single person knows a single thing about it in advance”…except for the CEO, who personally sets everything up, from designing the t-shirts to

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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

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