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

7 Steps To Making A Great Entrepreneur Impression

Barack Obama meets Mark Zuckerberg, photo via Wikimedia

Entrepreneurs are all about firsts, and the most important is you making a great first impression – on investors, customers, new team members, and strategic partners. Poor first impressions can be avoided, but I’m amazed at the number of unnecessary mistakes I see at those critical first introductions, presentations, and meetings.

The key

Read more >

Why are some venture capital firms not funding women?

The facile answer to this assumptive question is “because some women are not seeking funding from venture capital firms”.

But there is actually quite a bit of truth in both statements. Women-led ventures definitely account for a smaller percentage of venture investments than  do ventures led by men, but women-led ventures also account for a MUCH smaller percentage of ventures seeking

Read more >

As a VC or angel investor, how has your approach to investing changed over time?

The biggest change is the one that ALL serious angel investors eventually arrive at: no matter how smart or experienced you are, there are simply too many exogenous factors affecting outcomes for you to be able to pick only winners.

Don’t Let Investors Conclude Your Startup Is A Hobby

Software Development Process via Wikipedia

Even when your startup is a one-man show and lots of fun, a “business” needs some discipline and controls to keep it from being defined as a hobby by investors, and assure some financial return. Like it or not, you are now entering the dreaded realm of specifying and documenting “formal business processes.” The right

Read more >

Can Fortune 500 executives also be angel investors?

Sure! There are quite a few senior executives of large companies who are angel investors. Unless there are specific competitive or ethical issues with a particular investment, there is nothing different from their employer’s viewpoint about investing in a private company rather than a public one.

What are the best innovations to come out of the financial industry in recent times?

From a completely biased perspective, I’d nominate the nascent and not yet completely visible rise of online equity investing platforms.

While Gust is generally flying under the radar, and currently accounts for an infinitesimally tiny fraction of the marketplace, the actual numbers may be a bit surprising.

10 C-Level Positions That Are Red Flags For Funding

Image via Wikimedia Commons

It’s your startup, so you can give early partners any title you want, but be aware of potential investor and peer implications. VCs and Angel investors like to see a startup that is running lean and mean, with no more than three or four of the conventional C-level or VP titles. More executives, or other more

Read more >

What are the most effective ways for an entrepreneur to argue that a convertible note should be uncapped?

For a sophisticated investor, there are none, because an uncapped note just doesn’t make sense (see my answer to “If a startup’s valuation is $x, how much larger should its cap on a convertible note be?”)

What is appropriate for Investor’s Contracts?

There is no standard thing called an “Investors Contract”, and it sounds as though you are trying to re-invent the wheel here. It also sounds as though you are doing all of this yourself, instead of using an experienced lawyer…which is a very, very bad idea.

10 Key Traits Of An Ideal Entrepreneur Partner

Photo of Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt with Sergey Brin and Larry Page via Wikipedia.

A while back I talked about how and where to find a co-founder in “For a Startup, Two Heads are Always Better Than One”. The feedback was good, but some readers asked me to be a bit more specific on attributes that might indicate an

Read more >