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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]

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]

Invitation to Lunch and Investor Feedback Meeting/Charity Auctions

I get more requests for meetings than I can handle.  I’d like to say it’s because of my great insights and dashing looks, but really it’s because we give away money for a living. As a way to try to respond to these requests, I’ve donated my time to a few charities which are auctioning off lunches [...continue reading]

How Large Corporations Can Learn From the Innovation Economy

One of the core functions of a VC is to identify the next generation of disruptive companies.  I presented last month to a Microsoft senior executive offsite on how large corporations can do the same, to inform their investing, M&A, and competitive intelligence.  My presentation was based on my [...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]

Venture Capital Superheroes

CB Insights just included ffVC in 13 Micro VCs We’re Watching, along with a (highly inaccurate) superhero graphic.  CB Insights has become a very influential data source in the industry.  In fact, I recently had dinner with a well-known VC who said that he was surprised to see the CB Insights [...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 competent founder could easily educate [...continue reading]

How To Pitch An Entrepreneur And Persuade Her To Take Your Cash

With the rise of a trillion-dollar crowdfunding market, angel investors bundling their investment offerings, and family offices doing more direct investments, venture capitalists are no longer the only available source for entrepreneurs seeking funding. Now that anyone can benefit from the global [...continue reading]

Convertible Note or Equity? Practising Law Institute Webinar

  The Practising Law Institute hosted Dror Futter of SorinRand and me for a webinar last week on “Before Series A – Convertible Note and Series Seed Funding for Startups”.  I’ve embedded the slide deck below, and you can listen to the webinar ($129) here. (Dror is a lawyer and I’m not, so [...continue reading]

Why Are Venture Capitalists (76% White Men) Ignoring The Future?

Why do so many venture capitalists ignore the single best predictor of the future: demographics? One of my particular interests is looking for women & minority entrepreneurs in which to invest.  It’s not because of personal ties; I’m yet another white male in the overwhelmingly white male VC [...continue reading]

Startup Grind Interview (with Vertical Pushup)

Last month I did an on-stage interview with Peter Crysdale of Startup Grind. You can read a summary at AlleyWatch. For fun, I did an on-stage vertical pushup at the end of the interview (skip to 44:00). [...continue reading]

Why Some Investors Are Happy with Lousy Returns

My recent post on “Asset Management is a Bizarre Industry Ripe for Disruption” got one of the most interesting reactions I’ve received.  Among the more thoughtful respondents was Terri Chernick, Chief Investment Officer, The Koffler Group.  We had an email conversation about the rationality, or lack [...continue reading]

Where are the Deals? How VCs Identify the Next Generation of Startups

You’ve probably read dozens of articles about how to raise capital from venture capitalists. However, as a VC, we have the opposite problem: how do we find companies in which to invest? It might appear that origination is becoming much easier because of new tools like AngelList and the SEC moving [...continue reading]

Asset Management Is A Bizarre Industry Ripe For Disruption

Since I became an institutional investor, my #1 learning is: this is a highly unusual and somewhat baffling industry.  Asset management shows the traditional earmarks of an industry ripe for disruption -- most obviously, unhappy customers and extremely profitable incumbents.  Despite this, it’s [...continue reading]