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The 9 Steps of Using Technology to Improve Investing in Private Companies: How Private Equity and Venture Capital Investors Are Eating Their Own Dogfood

Private equity and venture capital investors are copying our sisters in the hedge fund and mutual fund world: we’re trying to automate more of our job.  But we’re doing it slowly.VCs tout themselves as frontier technology investors, but most are using the same infrastructure tools they have used [...continue reading]

Diversity, Why International Startups Love NY, and Why NY VCs Love International Startups

New York is now the second-most-active tech ecosystem in the US on all key metrics, after the Bay Area.  One of the drivers for that growth is that for European, Israeli, Latin American, and Eastern Canada-linked companies, the East Coast is much closer than California.New York venture [...continue reading]

How to Negotiate a Partner Role at a Venture Capital or Private Equity Firm

It’s hard enough to get a job at a venture capital or private equity firm; it’s even more complex to join as a Partner.  I thought it would be helpful to put together some notes on market norms and issues to consider in negotiating a partnership at an institutional investment firm.  These are many [...continue reading]

With So Many Options for Marketing Your Business, What Content Should You Promote Where?

Your company typically has seven layers of content marketing. Here are tips for each layer.What content do you use in marketing your firm? And what content should go in which place?Your company (or your fund, if you’re a VC) typically has a 7-layer stack of marketing content. In descending [...continue reading]

Ready to Join a New Management Team? Here’s How to Do Your Due Diligence First

I get emails every week from mid-level and senior executives who want to join a growth company. You’re going to be spending 40+ hours/week with your new colleagues, which is more time than most of us spend with our spouses. So I put together some notes on how to due diligence a management team, from [...continue reading]

How VCs Structure a Syndicate and Recruit Coinvestors

When I meet with other VCs, family offices, and other institutional investors, the most common question I get is: “What are the highest-potential companies in your portfolio which are raising now?”  I thought it might be helpful to provide transparency on how we and many of our VC peers think about [...continue reading]

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]