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

Blog Archives

Intellectual Property for Startups in the Real World

Given that 2011 is already behind us, I’d like to take a brief time-out from the usual legal and financial wonkery to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year.  Many thanks to David Rose, Ilana Grossman, Justin Stanwix, and the whole Gust team for making the Gust Blog such a valuable platform and resource for entrepreneurs and angel

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Get a mentor, not a critic.

The dictionary definition of a mentor is “an experienced and trusted advisor,” or “leader, tutor or coach.” The definition of a critic sounds similar, “a person who offers reasoned judgment or analysis.” The big difference, of course, is that a mentor looks ahead to help you, while a critic looks backward to tell you what you did wrong.

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?

A Startup’s First Steps: What’s In A Name?

Having taken stock of the main legal documents and actions involved in forming and operating a new startup, let’s crack open the “case” (disregarding the warnings about voiding your warranty) and examine a few of the steps, documents and key decisions to be made in getting a new startup ready for business.

Most startup lawyers have checklists (at least in

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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.

Crowd Funding and Job Creation

There seem to be two motivations behind the current buoyant enthusiasm in Congress over crowd funding for entrepreneurs:  1) the democratization of funding for startup companies (no longer requiring such investors be wealthy) and 2) the job creation that is expected to result from creating more startup ventures.  In my earlier post, Crowd Funding – A Critique for Entrepreneurs and

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Jack and the Startup Bean Stalk

If only there was a single idea that could make any startup succeed, huh? Well, it does exist: a business seed that, planted and watered, will grow to the sky. And you can have it without even giving me a gold coin.

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.