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

Blog Archives

How to Give Women the Wings of an Angel

Canada has not tapped its female angel investor potential – yet.

The female angel investor conversation has been discussed inside and out. From TechCrunch, BetaKit to the Financial Post, there have been more than a few arguments made about the lack of female representation in Canada’s early-stage investment community and the benefits of tapping into this financial resource.

For example,

Read more >

Is it a good idea to ask for investments on your webpage?

No, because it is almost certainly against the law or regulations wherever you’re located (in the US it would be called General Solicitation).

How do angel investors typically deal with the legal agreements and similarly how would they help deal with legal issues for a startup they’ve invested in?

All investments by angels (and everyone else) in a company are made according to detailed legal documents that specify everything about the relationship among the various parties, the terms of the value exchange and the various rights and responsibilities of everyone involved. The paperwork can range from 5-10 pages for a pretty straightforward convertible note, up to 120 pages or

Read more >

How does one go about becoming a Venture Capitalist?

As Ryan Lackey noted, having a lot of money is essentially irrelevant in this context of how to become a venture capitalist, because that is not the way venture capital works.

What does it feel like to invest in a failed startup as an angel investor?

It’s not great…but it IS part of the business.

If you are an angel investor, the only way to do it is to take things very seriously. If you take angel investing seriously, you should aim to develop a portfolio of at least 30-40 investments over 5-10 years of active investing. If you invest in 40 startups, 20 of them (absolute minimum!)

Read more >

What measures do VC’s take to mitigate conflicts of interest between investments?

The best way for a VC to mitigate conflicts between portfolio companies is to avoid investing in direct competitors in the first place! While this can be a bit difficult for seed funds with very large portfolios and limited direct day-to-day involvement, most larger funds are careful to avoid directly competitive investments. The reason for this is simple: why have

Read more >

What are some key points to look for when reviewing an investment offer in your startup?

There are two separate and distinct sets of things that you need to look at when evaluating an offer.

The first, and most important, has to do with who the investment is from. It is impossible to over-emphasize the value of “smart money” and “good money” over “dumb money” and “evil money”. You should do at least as much diligence on your potential investor

Read more >

What are some ways you can keep track of startups you are evaluating/diligencing/investing in?

This is obviously a softball question that I’ve been Asked to Answer, as I’m the Founder/CEO of Gust. The answer, of course, is Gust—because that’s exactly the purpose behind the platform!

Gust is the infrastructure that underlies much of the professional world of early stage finance. It is used by hundreds of thousands of companies in 195 countries to organize all of

Read more >

What are the differences between startups/tech companies founded in Silicon Valley and those founded in New York?

While there are differences in the startup communities on the two coasts, and while there are definite differences in the investment communities, I’ve found much less of a difference in the types of companies being started.

Who are the friendliest venture capitalists?

Interestingly, the large majority of venture capitalists are very friendly. It’s for the same reason that as a group, orthodontists tend almost universally to be more friendly than surgeons.

[“Whaaaa?!?”! I hear you ask. Think about it for a bit, and particularly if you’ve had personal experiences with either/both groups.]

The latter profession sees you by referral from another doctor,

Read more >