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Should you co-found a company with your friend? And how do you split the equity?

If you’re talking with cofounders about launching a new business, you’re fundamentally recruiting someone to take the job of partnering with you for the next decade.  I see a lot of founders who do less due diligence than I think ideal before making that long-term commitment.Just knowing one [...continue reading]

Are you hiring a cultural fit? Do you actually want to?

Who should you hire: the superstar with great skills who feels like a poor fit with the culture, or the person with weaker skills but who fits in culturally?  Even though I believe in hiring the stranger, cultural fit really matters.I once had an interview set up with a candidate who looked [...continue reading]

A family-friendly work environment is a powerful recruiting and retention tool

My wife and I have a lot of conversations about work-life balance, or as I usually think of it, making sure I don’t use up too many “spouse points”.  Many early-stage companies do not have these issues top of mind, because so many founders are pre-children. However, even people without children [...continue reading]

Face-to-face meetings are important, but written collateral is mandatory for closing the deal

I’ve noticed a lot of founders raising capital prefer to have face to face meetings, as opposed to answering questions in writing.  Some don't want to share a deck in advance of a meeting.When you’re fundraising, I suggest keep in mind you are accomplishing different goals.  The goal of all [...continue reading]

The investment committee rejected you; what does that actually mean?

One of the most common ways a venture capitalist rejects you is a variation of, “I love you, I love your company.  I brought it up to the investment committee (“IC”)....but they turned it down.” What does that actually mean? Is this the business equivalent of telling a flame, “It’s not you, it’s [...continue reading]

Your startup is dying — now what?

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” (“Man Plans, and God Laughs.”)We hope for the best, but are forced to plan for the worst.  Almost all VCs will have companies that fail. The CEO comes to us.  She has 3 months of cash left. Existing investors have said they’d be glad to invest…if she gets a [...continue reading]

Startup fundraising hacks: raise more money faster

I presented last month to the Harvard in Tech Emerging Founders Program on "Startup Fundraising Hacks: Raise More Money Faster".  I have embedded the video and the slide deck below.    [...continue reading]

A message to young people from older folks: DON’T VOTE

Voter registrations close soon in many key states. Register here.And a reminder for young people: DO NOT VOTE!  [...continue reading]

Looking for a true enterprise entrepreneur in residence

I’m researching an idea for how large enterprises which are not technology companies can promote innovation in their areas of interest.  My proposal: hire a true Enterprise Entrepreneur in Residence, whose defined KPI is: Quit my job. (No, that’s not a typo). This idea would have a trivial cost: [...continue reading]

Industrial psychology for CEOs

I’ve personally been a past client of Ben Dattner, an executive coach and organizational development consultant, and head of Dattner Consulting.  Ben has an unusually well-developed website, well worth reviewing when you are thinking through management decisions and challenges.  I put some links [...continue reading]

How to ensure everyone agrees on the contract you just signed

When we negotiate a deal, the paperwork is intended to document the deal.  If necessary, the paperwork is supposed to ensure that all parties keep their commitments.But I admit it: I’m paranoid.  How do I ensure enforceability?  We are investing millions of dollars based on a few pieces of [...continue reading]

Why venture capitalists are investing in international startups

Why are more US VCs investing in international startups?Take a look at The Fortune Unicorn List: of the top 100 most valuable unicorns in 2016, 39 are currently based outside of the United States.  While fundraising of US VCs has dropped slowly as a percentage of global limited partner [...continue reading]

#MovingForward movement: VCs and a diverse, inclusive, and harassment-free workplace

HOF Capital recently joined the #MovingForward movement of VCs committed to diverse, inclusive, and harassment-free workplaces. The movement emerged at a founders dinner a few months ago when the question, “As an entrepreneur, if I experience harassment or discrimination, where do I report it and [...continue reading]

Limited partner due diligence on VC and private equity funds

As a VC, I have a standard due diligence list for companies I’m reviewing.  Similarly, our limited partner investors have their own due diligence standards, and we manage our firm to keep in line with their standards and expectations.The biggest risk for many VC and private equity funds is team [...continue reading]