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2015- $200MM new fund with Bill Geary, Michael Greeley and Lee Wrubel asa the GPs. They continue to manage existing Foundation Medical investments. ~($200MM)
Private: 179 Chars
Seriously: stay away from this fund. We pitched Yatin at their offices, who was half an hour late to our meeting. During the pitch, he was HAVING LUNCH and looking at his phone, and asking random questions to pretend like he was paying attention. We were interrupted twice by what I presume were his partners, to take him out of the room and talk. When he finished eating, at around the middle of our 12-slide deck, he stopped us and said "ok guys, this is very interesting, we'll get back to you", and left the room. Rude, arrogant, disgusting experience.
We went to pitch them, and were originally going to pitch one of the SF parters but got Phin, who had just recently arrived to San Francisco. He somewhat paid attention to our pitch, then asked questions that weren't relevant to what we were doing. He also asked things we'd explained already during the pitch, which made us feel like we had wasted our time.
Private: 330 Chars
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.
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 TheFunded.com) 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.
Among oil and gas startup executives, they have a shady reputation.
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.
No longer running
Private: 605 Chars
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.