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Institutional Investor’s Cover Story is Our Research Study on Innovation in Investing

We’re happy to report that Institutional Investor just published our research study as their April cover story: “Asset Managers, Prepare to Have Your Business Disrupted” (about 2,000 words). You can download the full study in PDF (10,000 words) or join the discussion around the paper here on [...continue reading]

Why This New York Venture Capital Firm is Investing in Canada

At our firm, ff Venture Capital, we didn’t aim to go to Canada, but ended up there anyway. We’re a New York based early-stage venture capital firm. Since 2011, we have invested in four Toronto-based startups as well as one Ottawa-based company, out of 60 active companies in our portfolio. In [...continue reading]

How to Run Your Company Based on Metrics: What, Why, How, Who, and When

I review a lot of board decks with a beautifully hand-crafted page with metrics for the company.  That makes me nervous.   I prefer to see a screenshot of an internal dashboard, not something created for the board, and I prefer to see that same dashboard in the same format at every meeting.  The [...continue reading]

How Star Wars Will Help You Raise Capital for Your Company

When you’re raising money, you’re telling a story.  So who are some of the best stories and storytellers?   Greek mythology, the Bible, and in modern times, George Lucas and the Wachowski siblings. Star Wars and the Matrix are both modeled on Joseph Campbell’s wildly influential book, The Hero [...continue reading]

Should You Co-Found Your Company With a Software Development Shop (1 of 2)?

You’ve got an amazing idea. You’ve got everything it takes to bring a start-up from nothing to something that really makes a dent in the universe. … and if you’re like most of today’s startups -- you need to get an app in the hands of customers. Once customers love your app and you show [...continue reading]

Corporate Venture Capital: Obligatory or Oxymoron?

When I meet with executives from large corporations, they’re often worried.  And they should be; the feeding frenzy in the innovation economy is in some cases because startups are eating the lunch of more established companies.  To quote a friend, if you’re an executive at an established company, [...continue reading]

18 Ways to Make Your Financial Model Stand Out to Investors

The median investor looking at your proposal is in her 40s.  Her eyes are going, not to mention her brain.  I look at a lot of spreadsheets and analytic reports, and way too many are difficult to read and therefore hard to understand. In an effort to make my life easier, I’ve summarized here the [...continue reading]

How Long Before Venture Capitalists (and Angel Investors) Get Liquidity?

It’s fascinating to be an angel investor, but do most angels actually make positive returns?  And even more important, how long until they get liquidity? The theoretical returns look extremely attractive; we’ve identified 12 different studies showing annual returns of 18-54%.  But the bad news: [...continue reading]

Top 9 Easy Career Hacks That Most People Don’t Do

I agree with Brad Feld: Most people flake.  If you’re not a flake, you are far more likely be trusted, promoted, and funded.  If you execute on the steps below, you’re well on your way to being a top quartile performer. I gave a presentation to Womensphere a few months ago on the most valuable [...continue reading]

How To Lose Fat And Gain Muscle With Venture Capital

Both founders and researchers in healthcare are spending far too much of their energy in areas where they’re not going to make maximum impact. Most health problems are self-inflicted, but the innovation economy doesn’t reflect the power of preventive healthcare.  Dr. An Nguyen and I just completed [...continue reading]

A Checklist For Writing Code

Ever since I studied Total Quality Management in college, I’ve been a bit obsessed with documenting processes.  I was particularly influenced by Dr. Atul Gawande’s “Checklist Manifesto”, which underlined for me the value of collecting, documenting, analyzing, and continually re-optimizing best [...continue reading]

Ten Experiments To Test Your New Business Hypothesis

You know that a new idea has gained dominance when it becomes practically a cliché.  That is what I’ve seen happen with the “Lean Startup” philosophy of viewing your startup as a scientific experiment in search of a business model.  This started as a new idea, then became popularized, and now people [...continue reading]

Feedback Is A Gift; Should You Ask For It?

It’s rare to find someone who is insightful about you and your business ... and rarer to find someone confident enough in their relationship with you to give you honest feedback.  I treasure these people, and have paid a coach to do this for me personally. When you’re meeting with your board, I [...continue reading]

Please Don’t Pitch A Venture Capitalist Without This Checklist

I’m surprised at how many funding pitches I get which lack some of the basic information which investors require before funding.  I think this stems from two causes: 1) Lack of basic knowledge of the information investors require.  But I would hope that a reasonably competent founder could easily [...continue reading]