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How to choose an investment banker…or replicate one

Should you hire an investment banker?  And if so, who? The good news: even if you are a small company and can’t afford a banker, you can synthetically and cheaply replicate a banker. That’s part of the value proposition of an institutional VC; I have been the (unpaid) investment banker for many [...continue reading]

What type of capital should you raise, and from who?

How do you decide which investor you should target and raise capital from?   I wrote recently about Should you raise venture capital from a traditional equity VC or a Revenue-Based Investing VC?  Since then, I’ve talked with a number of other firms, and greatly expanded my database: Who are the [...continue reading]

How to evaluate the great job offer you just won

"The board has met and we'd like to extend you an offer to join the company.  We'll send you all the details via email. We are excited to have you join us!" If you get that phone call, what should you be thinking about? I compiled the best resources I found here.  This is relevant for any job [...continue reading]

Should you raise traditional VC or Revenue-Based Investing VC?

 Most founders who are raising capital look first to traditional equity VCs. But should they?  Or should they look to one of the new wave of Revenue-Based Investors? Revenue-Based Investing (“RBI”) is a new form of VC financing, distinct from the preferred equity structure most VCs use.  RBI [...continue reading]

Why are Revenue-Based VCs investing in so many women & underrepresented founders?

A new wave of Revenue-Based Investors are emerging who are using creative investing structures with some of the upside of traditional VC, but some of the downside protection of debt. Many are reporting that they’re seeing a more diverse pool of applicants than traditional equity VCs… even though [...continue reading]

Marketing Your Portfolio Companies to Other Investors

One of my most important responsibilities as a VC is recruiting appropriate co-investors and follow-on investors.  See How VCs structure a syndicate and recruit coinvestors for more on this. I’ve provided here a template for sharing profiles of your companies with other VCs.  At every VC where [...continue reading]

Seeking CEO+team for VC-backed startup: Make America Functional Again

  Looking 4 entrepreneurial product mgr/biz-dev killer 4 a network-based service.. pre-launch, BIG equity, big peeps involved--ANY TIPS?? Do you want to make America functional again? Are you thinking of applying to Y Combinator without an idea? Do you have a great team at your [...continue reading]

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]

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]