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

Blog Archives

Rookie Cookies: Owning the Batter But Not the Chips

I’ve gotten on my soapbox before about the importance of forming a business entity as soon as there’s a new product or business worth protecting.  The most common messes encountered in my startup law practice involve founding teams that somehow never got the formation done right, including the contributions and assignments of intellectual property to the new company and the

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8 Ways to Surf the Entrepreneur Information Wave

Being an entrepreneur these days requires an understanding of a thousand topics, many of which don’t even exist today in traditional learning vehicles, like schools and textbooks. The Internet and its information wave have changed everything – it’s the problem with constant change, and it’s the solution, if you use it to navigate quickly and self-educate.

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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10 People That Will Strangle Your Company

Every organization, no matter how small, has one or more people who are quite simply obnoxious, and they drain energy from everyone and can strangle your company.  Sometimes they are also intellectually brilliant, or closely related to the boss, so there is no easy way out.

In fact, they may even be the boss.  So if you find this article

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Going to Raise VC? Here’s a Primer on Process, People & Powerpoint Deck

If you want a very quick primer on all the stuff nobody ever tells you about raising venture capital check out this video where Mark Jeffrey & I break it down on This Week in VC.  A summary of what we discussed is below:

Angel Investing: The Real Make-or-Break Issue

We’ll get there, but let’s start here: I don’t believe in “angel portfolio theory,” which applies Wall Street’s favorite myth to the early stage world. According to this approach, the “smart” way to do angel investing is massive diversification, with scores of early stage bets.

There are several reasons that this common wisdom is more the former than the latter,

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Pitching is never free.

If you are new to the startup space and Angel investing, you probably don’t realize that some groups of Angel investors charge entrepreneurs a fee to pitch to their groups. This practice has caused a rousing debate among key players, with some calling it a scam, and others defending it as necessary to cover expenses.

IP & crowdfunding: are 1,000 NDAs better than none?

Angels and venture capitalists will not sign non-disclosure (confidentiality) agreements just to listen to an entrepreneur’s funding presentation, or even to read the entrepreneur’s business plan.  Serial entrepreneurs understand this and write their plans without describing the “secret sauce.”  Investors will eventually want to validate the intellectual property (IP) prior to investing, but not just to hear about the opportunity. 

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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.