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

Blog Archives

Ask A Founder: Startup Lessons Learned from Work Truck Solutions’ Kathryn Schifferle

Kathryn Schifferle, Founder and CEO of Work Truck Solutions, turned being a woman in work trucks into an oversubscribed $2.1 million round.

We sat down with Kathryn as she shared what her fundraising journey was like, the startup lessons she learned, and her advice to fellow founders, especially women. Here is what she had to say:

HK: Tell

Read more >

Ask A Founder: Startup Lessons Learned from Squareknot’s Jason Rappaport

Jason Rappaport, Founder and CEO of Squareknot, has raised $1.3 million to date — his first $500,000 round came after a single email, pitch, and lunch.

We sat down with Jason as he shared what his fundraising journey was like, the startup lessons he learned, and his advice to fellow founders. Here is what he had to say:

HK: Tell

Read more >

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

Read more >

What are some good things about Gust that some founders might not know?

As the largest global database of startups (bigger than Crunchbase and AngelList combined, and more than double the size of StartupGenome), searchable by keyword and location, and with all entries written by the startups themselves, it can provide a quick sanity check before you go around saying “we have no competitors”. Rest assured that your potential investors have already used

Read more >

How does equity dilution work for startups?

Equity dilution works when the same pie is divided among more people. The founder of a company starts by owning all the shares representing ownership of the company. Over time, other people receive pieces of equity in exchange for work (employee stock options), money (seed, angel and venture investors), or services (attorneys, directors, etc.)

What are five tough questions that every founder should be prepared to answer in a pitch to VC’s?

How will you make money (and no, advertising is not the answer)? Who, specifically, is your first customer? Second? Third? What is your contingency plan for when this seed round is exhausted, and you are unable to raise any more? What is your API/platform/partnership strategy? How are you going to sell the company, and to whom, within six years?

 

When A Startup Chooses IPO Most Founders Are Out

Many entrepreneurs still dream of “going public,” making billions of dollars, and playing with the big boys. They don’t realize that this option would likely be their worst nightmare, since it costs millions for the road show, usually dilutes your equity to a tiny fraction, and takes away all your entrepreneurial control. Consider the recent example of Facebook and Mark

Read more >

The Startups Weekend Phenomenon and Angel Investors

Actual, fundable, serious startups in a single weekend? No. Real? Great learning experience? And worth doing? Yes.

Last Sunday night I judged nine pitches from nine groups that started from scratch just two days before, late Friday afternoon. They had some good ideas, good pictures, a prototype or two, some good video … and an entertaining event.

I’m posting

Read more >

What is an effective “pre-incorporation-agreement” between possible founders of a startup?

The bottom line is that the very question you are asking is one of the trickiest things of all when it comes to startup founding.  On the one hand, if you DON’T make things explicitly clear up front, you are just begging for a future disaster by ‘kicking the can down the road’. On the other hand, if everything is

Read more >

For a Startup, Two Heads are Always Better Than One

If you are a first-time entrepreneur, I recommend that you team with a co-founder with experiences, connections, and a skill set that complements, but doesn’t duplicate yours. Even experienced entrepreneurs need a partner to back up each other and improve fundability. The question is how to find that elusive perfect-fit partner.

First, I will admit there is no magic formula

Read more >