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

Category Archives: Investors’ Insights

Practice Entrepreneur Integrity As Seen By Others

As an entrepreneur, your personal integrity is critical for getting and keeping the support of investors and team members, and your company’s integrity is critical for getting and keeping customers and vendors. But in a practical sense, what does that really mean?

Most definitions of integrity include something like “the quality of being honest and morally upright.” Yet, I’ve found

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When Are Business People Entitled To Be Entitled?

Where did this sense of entitlement in our business culture come from? I’ve written about this before, but I was reminded again a while back at a conference for startups when an entrepreneur started berating investors for not funding early-stage startups. It sounded to investors like me that they felt a funding entitlement for their startup idea. Of course, I’m

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How important is trust in business partnerships?

There are three separate questions you’re asking here, so let’s take them one at a time:

How important is trust in business partnerships?

It is critical. Vital. The single most important thing. Without trust you will spend the entire relationship looking over your shoulder and second-guessing everything your “partner” does and says. This may well destroy your entire business.

Are a

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Is there a difference in expectation and attitude between Angels in the USA vs those in other Geographical regions and are there disadvantages because of this?

Surprisingly, no. Angels of a certain ‘level of professionalism’ have more in common with each other regardless of geography, than do novice and ‘super angels’ in the same city.

I am friends with many professional angels from around the world, and my analyses (allowing for our individual investment preferences) are virtually identical to those of Dave Berkus in Southern California,

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Where Is Your Technology In The Gartner Hype Cycle?

The Hype Cycle was a concept put forward by Gartner, Inc. back in 1995 meant to apply to technology product evolution and acceptance. As I was reading about it a while back, it occurred to me that the concept relates directly to how investors see startup opportunities and potential success as well, at least those with technology in their offerings.

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How do I shake off needy investors?

Does the company have a board of directors? Are there any investor representatives on it?  If there is a “lead” Investor with whom you have a good relationship, you might try having him act as your front man. Otherwise, you might try sending ALL your investors something like this:

How do startups decide who sits on the board?

A company’s board of directors is technically elected by the company’s shareholders. So before a startup receives outside funding, the board is “elected” by—and usually consists of—the founders (although it may exist in name only.)

Once a company receives its initial seed, angel or venture funding, the documents prepared for the investment will include a Shareholders Agreement that gets signed

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10 Ways To Kill A Growing Business With Bad Hires

Every startup with any traction quickly reaches a point where they need to hire employees to grow the business. Unfortunately, this always happens when pressures are the highest, and business processes are ill-defined. At this point you need superstars and versatile future executives, yet your in-house hiring processes and focus are at their weakest.

The result is a host of

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Don’t Forget Grants If You Need Early Seed Money

In the US, many entrepreneurs see grants as “free money,” since they are not loans and don’t have to be repaid. A grant is not an equity investment, so the entrepreneur doesn’t have to give up a stake in the company either. Typically they can be used to fund product development and commercialization that would otherwise require outside investors.

A

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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

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