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

Viewing all posts by Bob Rice

user Bob Rice Managing Partner,
Tangent Capital

Bob is Managing Partner of Tangent Capital, a registered broker-dealer and merchant bank focused on alternative assets and strategies. He is the resident industry expert on early stage and other private investments for Bloomberg TV, appearing daily as Contributing Editor on “Money Moves.” Bob is a Director of asset management companies with over $2 billion in AUM. Bob began his career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and then became a partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, where his practice centered on financial products. He left the law in 1996 to found a 3D graphics technology startup that eventually became the publicly traded Viewpoint, provider of the web’s first “rich media” advertising platform. He has been an active angel investor and startup mentor since 2004. Along the way, Bob also served as the Commissioner of the Professional Chess Association and authored the business strategy book Three Moves Ahead.

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.

The Care and Feeding of Advisory Boards

Sure, you want investors.  But sometimes the outsiders most capable of helping your business are those who invest time, not money.  And I don’t mean because they lend a credible name to an investor pitch: way too many entrepreneurs look at names on Advisory Board as just a way to expedite a raise.  If that’s all you really expect of

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Who’s The Real Competition?

Perhaps the most misunderstood topic in the world of startup investing is the question of who the competition is and isn’t.  And angels get this wrong just as often as entrepreneurs do.

Of course, we’re all familiar with the inevitable pitch slide on the topic, which features some sort of grid or circle image with – how fortunate! – a

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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.

The Great Frustration

All entrepreneurs know the feeling: your vision is crystal clear, but potential investors don’t get it.  They ask small-minded questions. They niggle over details. They hem and haw as the weeks melt away your first-to-market advantage. It’s maddening!

The Copper Ring

Oddly, perhaps, one of the most difficult decisions entrepreneurs face arises once the company begins to succeed.   That’s usually when the first really “strategic” potential investors start to show up, presenting the question: sell a big chunk (or all) of the company at today’s valuation, or double down and go for the life-changing money?

The #1 Rule For Getting Funded

Of course, the most frequent question angels hear from entrepreneurs is: what’s the one key thing investors look for in the funding process?  The answer is below, but don’t cheat. You have to read #3 and #2 first.

The Rhythm Method of Product Iteration

Of course, Steve Jobs left us a lot of incredible lessons.  Unfortunately, some of the really key ones, like “Be a genius”, can be tough to execute (I’ve been trying for years).  But one crucial one that you can implement might be called the “Rhythm Method”: imparting a well-known beat to your product and service upgrades.

Possibly the most shopworn

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Lost and Found at a Beauty Contest

The Miss Universe contest was perhaps the most devastating loss of my life. Oh, not as a contestant… as an “all in” PR gamble that failed spectacularly and essentially bankrupted our startup.

It was all so tempting. We had created the first portable 3D camera: a laser-bouncing device that captured an object’s geometry while a separate sensor grabbed the 2D

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