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

Blog Archives

Valuation Part I: Peeling the Onion, or How Top Investors Value the Startups They Invest In

Update 2017: To help you understand how your startup will look to investors according to this methodology, we’ve created a fundraising feedback tool that will give you investor-level insight into your startup’s performance. In just about 15 minutes, it will tell you how much money your startup is likely to raise, where you can find that capital, and what to

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Thinner Slices of an Extra-Large Pizza: Mathematical vs. Economic Dilution of Startup Equity

Back from a hiatus, it’s time to venture forward once more.  I appreciated hearing from those who asked about upcoming posts.  Thanks in particular to the reader who reminded me that Part II of “Bored” of Directors Can Become Clash of Titans is still in the queue.

Let’s get right down to business: Dilution of founders’ and other early shareholders’ equity in

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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

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What is the typical valuation/discount for branded lead angel investors (Dave Mcclure / Peter Thiel, Jeff Clavier etc.)?

I think this question (if I’m reading it as intended) may have a mistaken premise. It’s not as if there is “an official valuation” for a given startup, and that Dave McClure gets 10% discount off of that number for his investment, while Jeff Clavier gets 15% off and I get to pay a 5% premium :-).  Rather, it comes down to whomever is

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Convertible Debt is Bad For Angels

A couple of years ago, Paul Graham (Y Combinator) tweeted “Convertible notes have won. Every investment so far in this YC batch (and there have been a lot) has been done on a convertible note.”

The truth is convertible debt has not won.  Many sophisticated angel investors and angel groups refuse to invest in convertible debt in seed/startup deals.  Why? 

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10 Rules of Thumb for Startup Investment Valuation

Once you have a potential investor excited about your team, your product, and your company, the investor will inevitably ask “What is your company’s valuation?” Many entrepreneurs stumble at this point, losing the deal or most of their ownership, by having no answer, saying “make me an offer,” or quoting an exorbitant number.

I’ve written about this before, but it’s

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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

Convertible Debt: Worst Form Of Seed Financing — Except For All The Others

How to finance a new seed-stage startup?  Equity?  Convertible debt?  Convertible equity?

As of August 2010, Paul Graham famously proclaimed, “Convertible notes have won. Every investment so far in this YC batch (and there have been a lot) has been done on a convertible note.”  Yet in my little corner of Wonksville, Founder Institute CEO Adeo Ressi and Yoichiro “Yokum”

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2011 Halo Report :: US Angel Group Activity

At the Angel Capital Association (ACA) Summit in Austin in March, the Angel Resource Institute reported on angel group activity in 2001 in the first annual Halo Report.  I found some of the results quite interesting.  For example:

The median round of investment by group was about $700,000 but less than $300,000 was invested by the local group leading the

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The Great Crowdfunding Train Wreck of 2013

The verb “to disrupt” in all its forms is rightly popular in the startup world.  To many entrepreneurs, few things are as personally satisfying (or as lucrative) as disrupting an entrenched, complacent, monopolistic, inefficient or stagnant market in ways that often empower consumers and producers alike.  Consumer Internet and mobile technology businesses continue to be rife with opportunities for disruption.

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