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

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How do venture capital firms make money by investing in startups?

The venture capital fund itself makes money…

…by investing early in a startup company’s life, when success is not at all assured. In exchange for investing capital to help the company grow, the fund receives an ownership interest in the company. Because in the early days a company will not be worth very much, the fund’s ownership interest will be

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As a VC or angel investor, how has your approach to investing changed over time?

The biggest change is the one that ALL serious angel investors eventually arrive at: no matter how smart or experienced you are, there are simply too many exogenous factors affecting outcomes for you to be able to pick only winners.

I want to start investing in the tech industry (seed stage and/or stock market investing). What resources are good for evaluating a company in this niche and learning more about the industry?

The two possible approaches mentioned in the question are very, very different from each other.

Investing in public technology stocks in the stock market (such as Google, Apple, and many smaller companies) is something that anyone can do, can be started with a very small amount of money, can be experimented with before committing (by establishing a ‘shadow portfolio’), can be easily unwound, and

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How do angel investors typically get the initial capital to start off in their profession?

There are very, very few “professional” angel investors (as opposed to venture capitalists, who are, by definition, professionals.)

That said, many active angel investors were themselves entrepreneurs, which is where they made their initial money that they can now invest.

The Take It or Leave It Choice

The market for startup financing is a very lopsided one. For every VC pitch meeting that results in an investment, there are 399 others that typically conclude with the dreaded words, “Thanks for coming in, we’ll get back to you if we’re interested.” Given those odds, delivering a successful pitch means that virtually everything needs to come together in perfect

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How important is previous business experience to a VC or angel when investing in a start up?

It’s true, but…

Starting a company is NOT at all easy, and unfortunately there simply is no way to really learn about it other than by doing it. No book, school, mentoring, or even apprenticeship can substitute for hands-on experience. When you consider that doctors spend a minimum of two years in pre-med, four years in med school, one year in internship,

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The Democratization of High Returns

Today, more than one third of the United States population falls into a financial demographic known as the “mass affluent”. Unlike the headline-grabbing ultra-rich, the mass affluent are people with assets between $100,000 and $1 million, or annual incomes over $75,000. Historically, the 33 million American households in this category have invested for their future in one of three ways:

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