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

Blog Archives

Good Sources on the Pros & Cons of Convertible Notes

Entrepreneurs: if you’re looking seriously at angel investment, and you have the kind of product-market fit and management experience investors will like, you need to take a good look at convertible notes.

Do yourself and the investors you want to talk to a favor: take a few minutes and do some homework on this issue.

Outside capital: do or die?

A gigantic percentage of startup literature concerns how to raise capital.  But before you start on that PowerPoint, let’s ask this: do you really have to? Or is it still possible to bootstrap and build a company organically?

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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Red Flags To Avoid When Talking About Competitors

One of the most important questions you will be asked by potential investors is how your solution beats the competition’s, not just today, but over the three to five year life of their investment. There is no perfect answer to this question, but there are many wrong answers which will immediately jeopardize your credibility.

Investors Like Ideas, But Measure You On Execution

After the idea, it’s all about execution.  I often hear from investors that a great idea is necessary, but not sufficient. The most important thing is a proven team, meaning one who has built a startup before, and has experience with the execution process in this domain. I’ve talked before about the best personality traits for a good entrepreneur, but

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Of Birchbox and Bricks

Without a doubt, Birchbox is one of the hottest startups on the planet right now.  They are mentioned in any print, website, or television content concerning beauty, startups, New York, great entrepreneurs, women leaders, or the next generation of IPOs.  So, its almost impossible to avoid them.

Investors Fund Solutions Rather Than Technology

Too many entrepreneurs develop a new product without regard for market demand, then build an entire strategy based on creating a need, rather than acting on an existing market need. Investors characterize this approach as a “solution looking for a problem.” These don’t get funded.

The best startups find a way to drive the market with their technology, rather than

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The Great Frustration

All entrepreneurs know the feeling: your vision is crystal clear, but potential investors don’t get it.  They ask small-minded questions. They niggle over details. They hem and haw as the weeks melt away your first-to-market advantage. It’s maddening!

Social Media is a Boon to Startups Who Do It Right

If your startup can’t be bothered with social media, or has no plan to take advantage of it, then you are definitely at risk these days. But simply jumping in is not enough. Before you start spending money and time being a user, you need to understand how it can help you and your business. Using it randomly or incorrectly

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Scaling a Business by Cloning Yourself is Tough

Many writers have outlined the critical success factors for product companies, like sell every unit at a profit, patent the design, and continuously improve product. But recently I was asked about success factors for services startups, and I quickly realized that there is very little published to help the thousands of startups that fall in this category.