Posted by anonymous on 2012-11-20
We are about to start a Series A fundraise, and I wanted to get the community's advice regarding the best tools or sites that will help us research and identify our target VC prospects.
Obviously, The Funded is a terrific tool for this effort. Any other resources that you might recommend?
Also, besides tracking the VCs in a spreadsheet, do you have any other suggestions regarding how to manage the process?
Thank you in advance for your advice and counsel.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-08-20
I'm currently involved as a mentor in a start-up. My role is to give general guidance, answer questions, typical mentor stuff...
The start-up I'm advising had a very nonrefundable company when I first got involved. Early feedback from a number of folks supported this quite strongly. The team is technically sharp, overall quite smart, but very inexperienced, which is understandable since they're just out of college. I've gotten a lot more involved then what I expected - to the point where I completely recreated a product vision and road map for the team, which is completely different than their original vision.
The feedback from the new product vision has been extremely strong both from many potential customers as well as very senior people from the industry. It is very disruptive to a massive industry and has the potential to be extremely viral. Much more work to be done, but many positive signs so far. There's a significant amount of work ahead for the company but everyone is getting very excited, including myself.
I'm basically setting the course, mapping out the game plan, creating the near term tactics that need to be taken, helping with the pitch, you name it. I'm also driving the look and feel of the product. Only thing i'm not involved with is writing code. I love doing this, but I don't think this level of effort should be for free.
The question I have is whether it's reasonable to expect an equity stake in the company, and how much for the significant positive change that I've created for the company, and the much needed continued support and experience that the company will continue to demand, which I will provide.
Granted the company has a very long way to go, but it would be very tough to see the company become a great success (best case) and I get a thank you at the end of it, while others get a return from their equity stakes.
I understand that most start-ups fail and worrying about If the company is successful may not be practical. However, I know what direction this company was going and know the impact i'm having and know my continued involvement will greatly increase their probability of funding and success.
Any advice is greatly appreciated!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Mellop on 2012-08-19
Our house wasn’t vacant for us to move in until 3 days after the date we were given by the landlord. This meant the team (remember, I arrived about a week and a half later than everyone else) had to live out of random hotels in the area for another few days.
Lesson: Priceline.com is a good go-to for finding temporary places to stay should you need it. Our guys were able to stay at a Days Inn 2 miles from the accelerator offices for $50 a night:
Housing situations vary greatly among teams in the accelerator. Some have already locked down a local house or apartment, some are staying in local college dorms, some are still looking. I know the teams that are still looking because they are talking on the phone in the office during the day trying to secure something, which is a huge waste of your time in the program.
I’m very glad we had housing set up ahead of time. We found it through Craigslist while we were on the East Coast and we were able to get a friend to go to the house and check it out/show the landlord we were real. The one area we failed here was in negotiating the price down based on the current state of the house. It had been abused by the prior tenants to the point where we had the landlord replace the carpets. We also had some spring cleaning to do around the backyard. In our case this meant dragging old children’s toys out of the yard, even a car jack with accompanying large metal rods. The picture below is after all of that work – the bushes were littered with work equipment and cans before we cleaned it up.
Lesson: Try and get everything you can squared away before the accelerator program starts. Programs are generally 12 weeks (ours is 10 plus a pitch day after a 3 week gap), and wasting a week on your living situation means 10% of your accelerator time down the drain. If you’re like us, your accelerator is taking a chunk of your equity at less favorable terms than other sources you’ve raised capital from because you’re paying for the mentorship, environment, office space, connections, and other perks. Thus, you’d actually be wasting your money by not spending a little extra to arrive a week before the program starts. The “figure it out when we get there” approach sounds all rugged and bootstrappy, but it’s inefficient.
Lesson: Craigslist will become your best friend at this stage. We rented a UHaul truck for an afternoon for $60 and picked up 3 mattresses (average cost $40, some free), a coffee table, a lounge chair, an HDMI monitor ($20), and a few other essentials at absurdly low prices. I got a dresser, nightstand, desk, and queen IKEA bed with mattress for $350 all in.
Other stuff will inevitably come up. You might want/need a car, you’ll need to set up water/gas/electric/internet service, unpack, learn your way around the area, find the local-take out spots, and the list goes on. It took me 2 weeks to hunt down 2 of the packages I sent to myself for the move via USPS. Your bedroom will consist of bags, a mattress on the floor, and a single light for at least a week. Friends and family will be interested in hearing about the radical shift you’re making. They have all the best intentions, but will be contacting you while you’re scrambling to try and figure all of this out. Bottom line: get ahead of the game.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-07-22
How much equity is appropriate for the lead product developer of a tech startup? We are hoping he will develop into a full-blown CTO and partner in the business. He has been involved in the company since it took its current turn into software, but part-time and while doing his PhD which is not done. He will not be full-time in the foreseeable future. He has good technical knowledge but to develop as a manager let alone partner needs to be in the office every day but is rarely here because of PhD. Any salary will be limited in the near term because our funding is limited. We expect more funding (possibly even from an existing investor) within 3-4 months when the prototype is done. We offered him 15 percent of the company vesting over 5 years, he says it should be more, we agreed to do a survey on this site and to speak to others about standards. Everything is complicated by the PhD and the fact that he is not full-time. Both CEO and programmers (below the product manager or CTO level) are working full-time. Strong relevant specialized technical knowledge but if we have to pivot or emphasize other technical areas in our product in the future what will count most will be software development, project management skills, entrepreneurial focus and sticktoitiveness. Are there standards on this that we can adapt to our complicated case?PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by mazzarello on 2012-07-17
We are in a private placement round with individual investors. Interest is high enough to exceed our funding targetPRIVATE: Members Only (492 Characters)
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-05-16
Avoid. Not legit. Another funding scam where they make their money enticing business to submit apps, but don't have investors to back up them up.PRIVATE: Members Only (1118 Characters)
Posted by E=mc2 on 2012-05-16
One time I went to a 'fast pitch' speed dating event between investors and entrepreneurs. We were given one minute to tell investors what we did and how we were going to make money. As I waited my turn, I noticed that entrepreneur after entrepreneur would get up and completely failed at communicating exactly that. So much of what they said made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. Why? I'm not a tech geek, but I do know a bit about business. Well, why is this important? Because most investors, while they may be tech savvy, are also business oriented and for the most part, NOT TECH GEEKS.
Another problem with the entrepreneurs - they were also mostly POOR speakers, often looking down at their shoes. Well, NOBODY LIKES SHOE GAZERS. Public speaking is essential at being able to get your message across! If you want someone to invest in your product, you must be CONFIDENT. Standing there nervously stammering what you are trying to do, well, that is not going to inspire anyone to invest in YOU. Even if you think you have the most compelling product/service in the universe. If you come across as a social mis-fit, ugh. Do your pitch first before a mock audience if you must or get coaching. This is really important.
And also, DON'T GO FAST!! If you have so much information, don't run at the mouth. I noticed again, that because they were limited to a minute, they tried to speak AS FAST AS THEY COULD. When you do that, you end up with an audience who could NOT follow a word you said and again, completely MISSED your message.
When I got up to speak. I kept it short, to the point, I spoke TO the audience AND I spoke SLOWLY and CLEARLY with NO GEEK TALK. When I finished, unlike the other entrepreneurs, I was flooded with cards from investors.
So my advice. Keep your pitch short and simple (KISS) Leave them wanting more because if they want to talk to you, you'll have stuff to tell them.
I know this sounds really obvious, but judging from the amount of entrepreneurs who got up (there were close to 100) they all, for the most part, did all of the above. Except me!!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-04-24
Need advice what to do about a fund that lied about their holdings in other companiesPRIVATE: Members Only (768 Characters)
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-04-16
I got two rounds of angel investment (from the same investors) in the form of convertible notes. The second round was made before the expiration date of the first round. The first round expiration date has come and gone. The first round had a conversion to equity valuation of X, the second round was 66% of X, due to lack of progress. The second round expiration date is coming up. The company has made some recent progress, and the market is improving for our product. I'm seeking a larger round from new (and existing) investors. My existing investors are saying they would like to amend the first round notes to match the expiration date and conversion valuation of the second round. Is this fair? It seems to me like renegotiating after the fact, based on perceived leverage. But what is the leverage? If they demand repayment of the first round now, the company would go bankrupt (there is little asset value for them to recover). Any advice is appreciated- I'm happy to clarify if this is unclear.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-04-14
Posted by fnazeeri on 2012-02-15
Here's an article from Inc. Magazine" on myths about startup compensation by Harvard professor Noam Wasserman (and yours truly). Enjoy!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by you_the_man on 2012-02-04
I have used many of the large law firms (Wilson Sonsini, Cooley, MoFo, etc.) and several sole-practitioner attorneys. While the large firms are good for some tasks, they are outrageously expensive, and I have used very experienced sole-practitioners for contract work at about $225/hour (MUCH more cost effective than large firms). Unfortunately, my 'go-to' attorney for this is no longer available, so I am looking for a new one. Ideally, experience with reviewing partner/alliance contracts for open source software, and based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Please share on this board if you know of someone good for this legal work.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by M on 2011-11-07
We now have a contract for a project that will eventually pay us 200K. And our patents were just issued. Is this enough to approach a bank for a bridge loan?
Also, can anyone recommend where to go to obtain a bridge loan? Esp one that is sympathetic to start-ups?? thank youPRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Richard on 2011-10-22
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-10-10
I've raised from known angels but never unknown VCs. Don't have solid inroads to any of those I'm most interested in pitching, so am contacting them cold. Have a world-class team and a solid deck. Anyone have any success/advice about how to get the meetings, who to contact first, what to send first, etc? How to deal with VCs with no email address listed? Thanks!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-08-23
Does anyone have a negative experience they would care to share with either bank?PRIVATE: Members Only (273 Characters)
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-08-03
Posted by fundraising on 2011-07-16
Tags: Market Latin America
Posted by william on 2011-07-08
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-07-02
I would like to work with one of the larger Silicon Valley firms and preferably one that has a fairly structured process for making VC introductions. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated.
Thank you!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-06-05
Tags: Early Stage
Most folks look at the funding meeting as having a “yes/no” outcome. It is much more realistic to recognize that there are many outcomes:
Funder Doesn’t Get It/ Like It:
1) Don’t get it - go away
2) Don't get it - but I'll learn more
Funder Gets It:
1) Get It, but not are my area of investment – will contact Mr./Mrs. XYZ on your behalf and suggest that they meet with you
2) Get It – I’ll give you some $$ - and I’ll let you run the company until you screw up
3) Get It – I’ll give you some $$ - and I’ll let you run the company until Point XYZ – at which time we’ll bring in a new CEO
4) Get It – I’ll give you some $$ - but I want my EIR to run it from Day One
5) Get It – I won’t give you $$ - but I like what you are doing so much I’ll
a. Tell one of my portfolio companies to do what you are doing
b. I’ll build it myself
Posted by DTD on 2011-05-07
New blog post at: http://tinyurl.com/NoCapExPRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by East Bay Entrepreneur on 2011-03-01
Posted by ammosov on 2011-02-13
I am looking to move our web service to a new web hosting. The load is not great, it's just a bootstrap startup. Any recommendations? I would prefer URLs over discussion "if you want that you need this and this".PRIVATE: Members Only