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How to Make Sure 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]

How to Scale a Venture Capital (or Private Equity) Fund

Managers of VC funds typically want to grow their business aggressively, just like the founders we back.  But, we normally have a clear ceiling on how high we can grow AUM, before hitting practical limits to deploying capital within the traditional VC model.  My Partners at HOF Capital are [...continue reading]

How to Get Superior Returns in Venture Capital

A friend of mine interviewed for a job with massively successful hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen.  My friend sat in the conference room, and Cohen walked in. He looked at his resume, and asked just one question: “What’s your edge?”  My friend got the job because his answer was differentiated, [...continue reading]

The 9 Steps of Using Technology to Improve Investing in Private Companies: How Private Equity and Venture Capital Investors Are Eating Their Own Dogfood

Private equity and venture capital investors are copying our sisters in the hedge fund and mutual fund world: we’re trying to automate more of our job.  But we’re doing it slowly.VCs tout themselves as frontier technology investors, but most are using the same infrastructure tools they have used [...continue reading]

Diversity, Why International Startups Love NY, and Why NY VCs Love International Startups

 New York is now the second-most-active tech ecosystem in the US on all key metrics, after the Bay Area.  One of the drivers for that growth is that for European, Israeli, Latin American, and Eastern Canada-linked companies, the East Coast is much closer than California.New York venture [...continue reading]

How to Negotiate a Partner Role at a Venture Capital or Private Equity Firm

It’s hard enough to get a job at a venture capital or private equity firm; it’s even more complex to join as a Partner.  I thought it would be helpful to put together some notes on market norms and issues to consider in negotiating a partnership at an institutional investment firm.  These are many [...continue reading]

With So Many Options for Marketing Your Business, What Content Should You Promote Where?

Your company typically has seven layers of content marketing. Here are tips for each layer.What content do you use in marketing your firm? And what content should go in which place?Your company (or your fund, if you’re a VC) typically has a 7-layer stack of marketing content. In descending [...continue reading]

Ready to Join a New Management Team? Here’s How to Do Your Due Diligence First

I get emails every week from mid-level and senior executives who want to join a growth company. You’re going to be spending 40+ hours/week with your new colleagues, which is more time than most of us spend with our spouses. So I put together some notes on how to due diligence a management team, from [...continue reading]

How VCs Structure a Syndicate and Recruit Coinvestors

When I meet with other VCs, family offices, and other institutional investors, the most common question I get is: “What are the highest-potential companies in your portfolio which are raising now?”  I thought it might be helpful to provide transparency on how we and many of our VC peers think about [...continue reading]

Institutional Investor’s Cover Story is Our Research Study on Innovation in Investing

We’re happy to report that Institutional Investor just published our research study as their April cover story: “Asset Managers, Prepare to Have Your Business Disrupted” (about 2,000 words). You can download the full study in PDF (10,000 words) or join the discussion around the paper here on [...continue reading]

Why This New York Venture Capital Firm is Investing in Canada

At our firm, ff Venture Capital, we didn’t aim to go to Canada, but ended up there anyway.We’re a New York based early-stage venture capital firm. Since 2011, we have invested in four Toronto-based startups as well as one Ottawa-based company, out of 60 active companies in our portfolio. In [...continue reading]

How to Run Your Company Based on Metrics: What, Why, How, Who, and When

I review a lot of board decks with a beautifully hand-crafted page with metrics for the company.  That makes me nervous.  I prefer to see a screenshot of an internal dashboard, not something created for the board, and I prefer to see that same dashboard in the same format at every meeting.  The [...continue reading]

How Star Wars Will Help You Raise Capital for Your Company

When you’re raising money, you’re telling a story.  So who are some of the best stories and storytellers?   Greek mythology, the Bible, and in modern times, George Lucas and the Wachowski siblings.Star Wars and the Matrix are both modeled on Joseph Campbell’s wildly influential book, The Hero [...continue reading]