Follow me

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]

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]

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 HOF Capital to keep in line with their standards and expectations.The biggest risk for many VC and private equity funds is [...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]

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]

Fundraising hacks for VC and private equity funds

Historically, the process of winning capital from limited partners has been opaque.  However, in the last few years a few have started to use social media and become more transparent.  I particularly like OpenLP.com, Origins, and the Raise blog, all of which include content from multiple LPs. [...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]

Please don’t pitch a venture capitalist without this checklist

I’m surprised at how many funding pitches I get which lack some of the basic information which investors require before funding.  I think this stems from two causes:1) Lack of basic knowledge of the information investors require.  But I would hope that a reasonably competent founder could easily [...continue reading]

Raise capital with the skin you’re in: blunt truth from Don Charlton, Founder, JazzHR

How do you raise capital for your company when you’re not in the traditional social circles of the money people?  In particular, the VC industry is 76% white male and overwhelmingly straight; what if you do not fit into that bucket?I’m speaking on a panel this afternoon on fundraising for [...continue reading]

How to pitch an entrepreneur and persuade her to take your cash

With the rise of a trillion-dollar crowdfunding market, angel investors bundling their investment offerings, and family offices doing more direct investments, venture capitalists are no longer the only available source for entrepreneurs seeking funding.Now that anyone can benefit from the global [...continue reading]

Helping Women And Minorities Raise Angel Capital

In early 2012, my HBS Alumni Angels colleagues and I launched the Venture Capital Access Program (VCAP), an initiative to help women and minority-led businesses to raise capital from the Harvard alumni angel community.  This is a partnership between HBS Alumni Angels of Greater NY (HBSAANY) and the [...continue reading]