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

Blog Archives

How to Maximize Results in the Art of Persuasion

Being a good entrepreneur means being able to effectively convince an investor that you have a great idea, persuade partners that your approach is right, and convince potential customers that the solution is right for them. If all your ideas are intuitively obvious to everyone, you probably aren’t thinking outside the box, or don’t really have the next big thing.

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Convertible Debt, Priced Equity Rounds and Deal Timing

An impromptu Twitter debate arose among Fred Wilson, Dave McClure, Mark Suster, Chris Dixon and others about convertible debt, priced equity rounds, and the nuances of early stage financing. It was such a good discussion that Fred asked that someone Storify it. I’ve done that here and expanded it with some additional references, background info and light commentary.

http://storify.com/antonejohnson/convertible-debt-priced-equity-rounds-and-timing

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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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.

Movies, not Snapshots

Stopping by the First Growth Venture Network session today, I saw the usual great collection of startups and industry experts. It’s about the best forum for practical advice, mentoring, and support that an entrepreneur could hope to find.  As usual, there were lots of quotable quotes, but my favorite one today was from Jeff Bussgang, co-founder of Flybridge, who said:

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Angel Investors on Burn Rate and Great Now or Great Later

Here’s an interesting question. It came up Tuesday night in an angel investment meeting:

My question is which looks better to investors: A higher burn rate with three great people on the business plan, or a lower burn rate with only two great people on the business plan? Two of the three want salary, not equity, and one of those

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Best Practices for Wasting Money

It seems that everyone is writing about best practices these days, and I certainly agree they should be followed whenever possible. There has been a disturbing lack of guidance on one of the most common activities of early stage companies: throwing money out the window.  So, I’m here to help.

Sisyph.us? Fighting an Unwinnable Domain War

One of the best values a young entrepreneur can absorb early on is the value of learning from mistakes, both your own and those of others.  I’m constantly amazed at the extent to which experienced entrepreneurs and angels are willing to share their accumulated knowledge and wisdom, including some painful battle scars, with others.  This bedrock of Silicon Valley culture

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Cohort Analysis

Don’t mean to disappoint you, but this idea isn’t nearly as devious or dark as the name implies.  It’s just a straightforward, really smart, thing to do.

The term derives from sociology: groups of people who share certain characteristics are “cohorts”.   Instead of focusing on average behaviors of a large population, cohort analysis looks to find and understand patterns among

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Limiting the Number of Shareholders in Private Companies

The US Securities Exchange Act of 1934, section 12(g), generally limits a privately held company to fewer than 500 shareholders. The assumption has been that companies with 500 investors are quasi-public anyway, and for disclosure and other reasons should be forced to go public when the shareholder number approaches this limit.