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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]

The Best Movies About Real Business, Not Hollywood’s Idea of Business

Eric Ries likes to asks audiences who has seen a movie about a startup.  Normally everyone has seen “The Social Network”. But, quoting a recent profile: “Perhaps Ries’ most important message was that the same democratization of entrepreneurship has been tied to a glorification of the profession. [...continue reading]

Raise Capital With The Skin You’re In: Blunt Truth from Don Charlton, CEO, The Resumator

How do you raise capital for your company when you’re not in the traditional social circles of the money people?  In particular, the VC industry is 76% white male and overwhelmingly straight; what if you do not fit into that bucket? I’m speaking on a panel this afternoon on fundraising for [...continue reading]

Design Your Company Culture Like The World’s Largest Hedge Fund

Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, is a man after my own heart.  A few years ago he publicly set down his core Principles for living, managing, and investing.  Bridgewater uses these codified rules for recruiting, training, and most important, managing the [...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]

How to Get World Class Experts to Support Your Company

As the former CEO of a professional expert network, I’m a firm believer in the value of speedy access to relevant experts.  I was excited to see that GLG (formerly Gerson Lehrman Group), the industry leader, is now offering a professional network service geared to the needs of the startup community: [...continue reading]

You Are Leaving Money On The Table: The Secrets Of Pricing

Oscar Wilde said that a cynic is a “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” A startup CEO should know both. One of the most powerful levers a CEO has to impact profitability is pricing. Typically, a 1% price increase has more than twice the impact on profit of a 1% [...continue reading]

HBS Alumni Angels NY Accomplishments to Date, and Our New Chairman

 I’m happy to announce that Jason E. Klein, CEO of On Grid Ventures, will serve as the new Chairman of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater NY.  Jason is an experienced angel and company builder.  I’m shifting to “Chairman Emeritus” (an overly polysyllabic title).  I'll still be very [...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? Paul Graham, cofounder of Y Combinator, observes, “Many suspect that venture capital firms are biased against female founders. This would be easy to detect: among their portfolio companies, do startups [...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]

Helping Women And Minorities Raise Angel Capital

In early 2012, my HBS Alumni Angels colleagues and I launched the Venture Capital Access Program (VCAP), an initiative to help women and minority-led businesses to raise capital from the Harvard alumni angel community.  This is a partnership between HBS Alumni Angels of Greater NY (HBSAANY) and the [...continue reading]

Meet People At SXSW … While Working Out And Losing Weight

Can you go to SXSW and stay in shape? South by Southwest (SXSW) is famous for a jam-packed schedule, infinite free food & drink, minimal sleep, and radical overstimulation.  It's not well known as a place to stay in shape. So before attending for my first time (finally!), I had to find a [...continue reading]

How to Prepare For and Run a Board Meeting

After spending quite a bit of time in board meetings, I worked with a NYU student team earlier in 2012-13 to prepare a template for board presentations to investors. In the deck below, I include our best practices on preparing for, running, and closing up on a board meeting, including what to [...continue reading]

How to Judge an Investment Proposal

I periodically serve as a judge at pitch events for companies raising funding. In every case, I'm assessing each company against ffVC's standard criteria for investing. You can see a video of a recent pitch contest where I served as a judge here. For some of the new employees at ffVC, I put [...continue reading]