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

Blog Archives

Users Guide to Startup Advisors

What’s an advisor to a startup deal? Technically, advisor is one of those bucket terms that means anything and everything, depending on context. Those names and faces and backgrounds that turn up in pitches and business plans might be deep and important relationships, somebody with options or equity who is going to be helping for the long term; or meaningless

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No, I will not sign your non-disclosure agreement.

Entrepreneurs are often surprised when investors refuse to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or confidentiality agreement when offered an opportunity to read the entrepreneurs’ new business plans.  After all, every new startup features secret ideas, partnerships, intellectual property and/or technology.

The Startup Clock Starts When You Incorporate

The official start date for your startup is the date you incorporate the business. This is obviously important for tax purposes, but may also dramatically influence how potential investors, customers, and competitors look at you.

My rule of thumb expectation is that it should take two months to set up the legal entity, six months to finalize the business plan,

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Get a mentor, not a critic.

The dictionary definition of a mentor is “an experienced and trusted advisor,” or “leader, tutor or coach.” The definition of a critic sounds similar, “a person who offers reasoned judgment or analysis.” The big difference, of course, is that a mentor looks ahead to help you, while a critic looks backward to tell you what you did wrong.

Entrepreneurs: Due Diligence on Investors is Smart

Due diligence should always be a two-way street. A while back, I published an article on “Startup Due Diligence Is Not a Mysterious Black Art,” describing what investors do to validate your startup before they invest. Here is the inverse, sometimes called reverse due diligence, describing what you should do to validate your investor before signing up for an equity

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Nuts & Bolts of Intellectual Property for New Startups

So you’ve chosen a name for your startup, product, or both. Having covered all the bases to ensure that your corporate name is available, the domain name can be acquired, and the name doesn’t infringe any existing trademarks (as we discussed here), now is a good time to look at the categories of intellectual property (IP) that are relevant to

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The Care and Feeding of Advisory Boards

Sure, you want investors.  But sometimes the outsiders most capable of helping your business are those who invest time, not money.  And I don’t mean because they lend a credible name to an investor pitch: way too many entrepreneurs look at names on Advisory Board as just a way to expedite a raise.  If that’s all you really expect of

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