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How to Judge an Investment Proposal (especially at Pitch Contests)

I periodically serve as a judge at pitch events for companies raising funding. In every case, I'm assessing each company against our 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 our firm, I put [...continue reading]

ff Venture Capital Is First VC Fund To Raise Capital Under The JOBS Act

ff Venture Capital has consistently generated a gross IRR on invested capital in excess of 30%, in a world where the average ten-year returns for venture capital firms are in the single digits.   But, historically we couldn’t say that it in a public setting.  Now we can.Software is eating every [...continue reading]

A VC Just Cold-Called You; Now What?

One of our founders called me.  “An analyst just called me.  He works for a VC fund tied to an investment bank.  He’s interested in our company and is keen to know more. How much information should I share? “CEOs need to know what they’re getting into when they talk with VCs, particularly if [...continue reading]

Turning the Tables: How to Make Venture Capitalists Pitch You

I’m returning to Capital on Stage this fall in New York. Last year, 19 other VC fund Partners and I pitched to 170 attendees; this year the conference organizers expect a similar turnout. You can see online my own pitch and all the other VCs pitching last year in NY  . To attend, apply via the [...continue reading]

How Tech Startups Can Get Money and Support from the Fortune 500

How can a tech startup engage with a Fortune 500 company for mutual benefit?Fortune 500 corporations are stressed about where they can get growth and how to plug into the innovative and nimble entrepreneurial ecosystem. The chasm between the typical Fortune 500 company and a startup is typically [...continue reading]

How To Present So People will Hear

You probably have to make presentations, but does the audience hear what you’re saying?  And do they believe it?Based on my experience in investment banking and strategy consulting, I've put together a 3-part series on how to prepare memos and presentations that people will read and believe. [...continue reading]

How to Write a Memo That People Will Actually Read

I spent many late nights as an investment banker and strategy consultant early in my career.  My #1 learning from that experience (besides financial modeling) was how to communicate in an effective way, particularly with senior executives.  As  training now for my team at ff Venture Capital, I’ve [...continue reading]

Should Your Startup Pivot, Persevere, or Plank?

(I originally published this in Forbes.)It’s a cliché of the startup world that successful entrepreneurs persevere even when everyone else thinks their idea is doomed (see: Pandora).It’s a cliché of the startup world that successful entrepreneurs pivot when appropriate (see: Paypal, Apple [...continue reading]

Teach your computer to read your mind

InteraXon, a leader in thought controlled computing and a ffVC portfolio company, launched an Indiegogo campaign today to support production of Muse, a multi-sensor brainwave measuring headband. For the last year, InteraXon has been deep in development of Muse, which will allow users to see how [...continue reading]

Why We Chose Salesforce CRM Over Zoho

I finally did it: I've moved my contact database over to the web.  After extensive research of different CRM solutions (thanks BestVendor), we're working with Salesforce.com.  We also used Salesforce heavily at one of my prior companies, Circle of Experts.I've been a loyal Act user for my [...continue reading]

More Cash for Entrepreneurs, Crowdfunding, and Indiegogo

As Steve Case has said, it’s ridiculous that anyone can gamble and be guaranteed to lose money, but there are strict regulations around who can invest in early-stage private companies and earn (in some cases) a 27% IRR on their capital. *The Entrepreneurs Access to Capital Act helps to redress [...continue reading]

Fundraising Hacks

The Founder Institute recently posted a video from a talk I gave a little while ago on Startup Fundraising Hacks. Although my focus in this talk is raising capital, the ideas and technologies I discuss will also help you in recruiting star developers, sales, and even dating. The talk is dated in [...continue reading]

Free Government Money for Your Company

A few weeks ago, Fred Wilson discussed the role of government grants in helping launch tech companies. Fred is not a fan and argues that evaluating and aiding early-stage companies is not a core competency of government organizations. He concludes by asking his readers to look into grant programs [...continue reading]

The reality of Profitably raising money from angels and VCs in New York

Adam Neary wrote an unusually open post about his experience raising $1.1m for Profitably, a provider of small business analytics. (Disclosure: I'm a Mentor for Founder Institute. Adam was one of our star students from the first class in New York, when Profitably was just Adam, a Powerpoint, and a [...continue reading]