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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]

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]

How to scale a VC (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 VC

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]

How private equity and VC investors are eating their own dog food: Using technology as a competitive weapon

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 VC 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]

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]