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Guidance Reaching Out to Investors Discussion

As Other Have Noted, Stay Away From This Group

Artiman Ventures

One of my companies learned first hand that Artiman was less interested in investing and more interesting learning about the market and company's platform...they took this information to create a competitor. This not an entrepreneur friendly firm. Pitching to them may lead to your worst nightmare.

The Method Behind Today's 'Unicorn' Madness News

Billion dollar companies are being created at a faster pace than ever before, so there are plenty of opinions in the "bubble or bust" debate. I won’t bore you with more. However, if you look at it objectively, there is a method to the “madness” of these so-called “Unicorn” companies.

I just published a detailed analysis on Forbes in an article titled How to Build a Billion Dollar Company: The Method Behind Today's Unicorn Madness.

I would love your feedback on this post, but to provide a quick summary:

The most recent Unicorns are being developed in as little as 36 months, with the combination of strong Founders, forward-thinking investors, and aggressive teams using a cycle of three main tactics:

1. The "Push" (a ridiculously ambitious growth plan outlined by companies with their investors)
2. The "Markup" (an enormous funding round that values the startup at a valuation that assumes flawless execution of the growth plan outlined in the “Push”)
3. The "Backfill" (the small period of time where the company needs to executive the plan and live up the value they pledged to create)

The Unicorns you are seeing today are the companies that have been able to successfully execute this cycle of Push -> Markup -> Backfill until hitting the billion dollar valuation in their latest “Markup”.

As for the teams that try but fail to execute this cycle? These companies typically return the remaining capital to their investors (ex. Secret, Homejoy), get acqui-hired (ex. Slide), or pursue drip funding.

Take a few moments to read the article here, and if you have thoughts, please leave comments on the post. I would love to hear them.

Also, quick sidenote: the Founder Institute (a company launch program born out of is currently enrolling in over 30 cities worldwide, and I will personally be leading the upcoming Silicon Valley Chapter. If you or somebody you know could use help launching a tech company, check it out.

Not Entrepreneur Friendly

Altira Group

Among oil and gas startup executives, they have a shady reputation.

New to Midwest Discussion

Fundraising Without a Soft Introduction –Vs. Cold Calling Discussion

We Got a Term Sheet Sort Of

Total Technology Ventures

I can't say enough good things about TTV's team. Smart, warm, full of ideas, and advice. Helpful. And our many interactions with them bore fruit. They issued us a term sheet. But was it? TTV promised to fund only a small part of their own term sheet. Now that I understand what happened here, I can tell you that what they really issued to us a "hunting licenses," not a term sheet. I've since learned that this is common practice amount smaller VCs. The onus of syndicating falls on the company, not on them. This helps them confirm their funding decision through the decisions of institutional investor colleagues. Well, that might suit them but it was hell on us. It was hard enough to get one VC to say yes -- a six month process. Getting two or three more to join on to a syndication and say yes in the 60 day period TTV gave us was just impossible. And so as quickly as the term sheet materialized, TTV retracted it. TTV's decision to pull the rug out from under us almost destroyed our company. Our investors saw the TTV deal implosion as a bad sign. Internal investors who were about to write checks didn't. And it soured most of the current crop of prospective investors who were circling and watching the TTV deal. I hope my fellow entrepreneurs can learn from this lesson. If you are considering a smaller VC like TTV, make sure you are clear about your expectations from the start. If you are expecting them to handle syndication, don't. If I could start all over again, I would not have even approached TTV. It was a monumental waste of time for us. In the order of hundreds of hours and legal and travel expenses in the neighborhood of $20,000 or more.

Database is Out of Date Can We Add New VC's and Institutions? Discussion

US West Software/B2B First Round Terms Term Sheet

This Org is Dead

Enterprise Ohio Investment Company

No longer running

Weak Due Diligence Process

Fluke Venture Partners

Private: 605 Chars

Terrific Support

Benaroya Capital

John came through when I was looking for something to bridge the company shortly before a favorable exit. The terms were a little steep, but John Carleton was an outstanding contributor. Because they are their own fund, they have a lot of latitude to structure a deal that met our needs. John also brought in other smaller private investors that were also terrific partners. He was a really solid guy. I understand they are no longer making any investments and John has since retired. Overall it was a good experience.

Compensation for Co Founder(Ish) Discussion

How to Market a Software Product in Silicon Valley From Abroad? Discussion

Planning Software Support as % of Revenue Discussion

Sourcing Investors Interested in Your Space Discussion

Wasted Our Time

RRE Ventures

We were introduced to them by an LP in their fund. We pitched them, they said they needed to do diligence and connected us to their portfolio company which we ended up signing as a customer. We shared our data-room with them as they asked to take a deeper look. Then they told us there was a conflict...which they should've known at the outset. Wasted our time.

Private: 361 Chars

Waste of Time

OpenView Venture Partners

Their associates will tell you that you are in their sweet spot and follow up to dive into your financials and other confidential info only to waste your time and gather intel.

Private: 618 Chars

When to Release Prototype Views to Select Audience Discussion

Gq Engineering, Gq Productions Projects Discussion

Post Funding CFO Compensation Discussion

Looking for a VC that Can Think Outside the Box to See a Unicorn Discussion

The Worst of the Worst

Arsenal Capital Partners

We were involved in a deal with Arsenal and the ethics were nothing anyone on our deal team had seen before. They flat out lied 4 distinct times. I felt like taking a shower after every negotiating session.

Toward the end of the process our lawyer ran into an old colleague who works for a firm that services PE shops so sees the whole spectrum. When asked about Arsenal his response was "the worst of the worst".

Announcing the Judges for the Disrupt Sf 2015 Startup Battlefield News

TechCrunch is excited to announce the judges of the next round of Startup Battlefield, being held at TC Disrupt San Francisco. These are kind folks tasked with picking the finalists and winner of the startup competition held at Disrupt SF. It’s a big task, but these judges are up to the challenge.

This year the competition will feature 24 young companies vying for attention and funding. At stake is the Disrupt Cup and $50,000.

Tickets are still available for Disrupt SF. Purchase yours today!

The judges come from all walks of life. Some are venture capitalists and some are engineers. Some are product managers and some are technologists. But they all know what they’re talking about and are experts in their fields.

  • Niko Bonatsos (General Catalyst Partners)
  • Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital)
  • Alexandra Chong (Lulu)
  • Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC)
  • Rob Coneybeer (Shasta Ventures)
  • Topher Conway (SV Angel)
  • Cyril Ebersweiler (Chinaccelerator)
  • Brady Forrest (Highway1)
  • Pat Gallagher (CrunchFund)
  • Parker Harris (Salesforce)
  • Rob Hayes (First Round Capital)
  • Sarah Leary (Nextdoor)
  • Jess Lee (Polyvore)
  • Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures)
  • John Lilly (Greylock Partners)
  • Susan Lyne (BBG Ventures)
  • Komal Mangtani (Uber)
  • Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch)
  • Peter Pham (Science)
  • Brian Pokorny (SV Angel)
  • David Prager (The Assembly)
  • Julie Sandler (Madrona Ventures Group)
  • Beth Seidenberg (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers)
  • M.G. Siegler (Google Ventures)
  • Debbie Sterling (GoldieBlox)
  • Sarah Tavel (Greylock Partners)
  • Halle Tecco (Rock Health)
  • Hans Tung (GGV Capital)
  • Matt Turck (FirstMark Capital)
  • Michelle Zatlyn (CloudFlare)

    Disrupt SF, which takes place on September 21-23, is a three-day startup conference and competition that explores the debate about what's changing in technology right now, what's causing it, and what we need to do about it to survive and succeed.

    The event will feature fireside chats with thought leaders and panels on hot tech topics, a stroll through Startup and Hardware Alley, and the iconic Startup Battlefield competition. Leave knowing you’re one step ahead of the future.

    Tickets are still available for Disrupt SF. Purchase yours today!

    Looking for Advice on Naseba Group Advice

    Looking for any advice/ experience on the NASEBA group. They host international investor meetings. Is it worth it?

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