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

Blog Archives

Crowdfunding Back On Track — As Milk Train, Not TGV

Last week I penned an in-depth critique of the portion of the JOBS Act seeking to legalize crowdfunding in the United States.  The bill, which may have more to do with political grandstanding in an election year than with actual job creation, was approved by a strong bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives. As I argued last week, the

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Using your business plan

Business plans come in several flavors and you will need each of them to successfully raise money. I’ll briefly describe the forms of your business plan, but more importantly, explain how to avoid common mistakes in using your plans.

Elevator Pitch – A two-minute verbal description of your business. Illustrate the problem you are solving and how your solution will delight customers.

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Nickel-and-Dimed to Life: Franchise Tax, Registered Agents and Filing Fees

Early stage startups understandably seek to minimize corporate overhead and devote every penny to customer development, engineering, marketing and so forth. Nevertheless, if you want or need the benefits of a business entity such as a corporation or LLC, there are some unavoidable expenses associated with their “care and feeding.” (Legal expenses are outside the scope of this post; my

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A Quick Reminder of the Roots of Angel Investment

I just picked up on a great reminder of how “it all” got started: Gordon Moore and eight others formed Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957, and how that led to the model for outside investment:

Little to anyone’s knowledge at the time, how it was formed would set the model for almost every Silicon Valley company that would follow it; unleashing

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I don’t file for patent protection often, but when I do, it’s provisional.

OK, the Most Interesting Man’s isn’t a lawyer, and his view is a bit simplistic. But he does have a point: in many cases, provisional patent applications can provide useful and inexpensive (if short term) protection for your brilliant new idea.

Heart-Attack Tax Season for Delaware Startups

It’s that time of year again:  Tax season.  In addition to the headache of personal income taxes, entrepreneurs have to deal with business taxes.  Around this time each year, as sure as the sunrise, I get calls and messages from irate founders of new startups who received franchise tax bills from the State of Delaware for an insane amount like

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How to Give Your Startup Idea The Sniff Test

I have a certain friend who called me  a while back, all excited about his latest revelation. “What if you could go to a web site and find all the recipes you could make today, with just the ingredients you already have in your kitchen? I’m going to start a website to offer this service!”

I’m sure you all realize

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Do You Know When To Bootstrap and When Not?

A couple of days ago a friend asked me whether I’m in favor of startups getting angel investment. He pointed out this post on this blog, which is me writing about five good reasons not to seek investment. My answer is that – like so much else in this field – it depends on the specific situation. A business that

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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.

Here is Why You Need a Good Startup Exit Strategy

If you startup is your dream, why would you want to think about an exit? It’s going to be so successful and so much fun that you don’t need to think about what comes after. Wrong. There are two very real and practical reasons why you need to plan an exit: