Posted by Chowderhead on 2010-10-30
Remember to reference check them as thoroughly as you would a potential Board member. They are working their way up the ladder and may break a rung or two on the way up :-).PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by drake on 2010-10-05
Nobel Prize for Physics was announced today for graphene, after only 6 yrs from it's discovery.
We are working on materials to make graphene nanoribbons and I'd appreciate advice on who best to engage for VC investment (early stage, proprietary materials, good IP position).
Posted by Gunnar Holmsteinn on 2010-07-28
Tags: Operations Bootstrap
When I first heard that we should "Bootstrap" it left a huge question mark on my face. I immediately thought about my statistics courses in the university; why in the world would my start up need to to derive estimates of confidence intervals for estimators of parameters of some statistical distributions. I actually thought about some of the R programs I wrote and started thinking how that could be applied. I eventually said that there was no need for that anytime soon, maybe a few years down the road. That left an even bigger question mark on the face of the guy I was chatting with.
It turns out that Bootstrapping is also a phrase in business finance. It's about keeping a tight fist on all your expenses and knowing that Cash Flow is more important than your mother. Something we've always been keen on doing but never had the correct lingo for it. In the past two years, we've put a huge emphasis on doing stuff that people, especially the people that pay us, like. The team has been very focused on organic growth and building our company the way we want.
In my mind, starting with little to no cash and working your way up is a very healthy start for a young company having to figure out how to make a great product.
Here are my Top 6 reasons why I think it's important to start by bootstrapping:PRIVATE: Members Only (4533 Characters)
Posted by kipmcc; Kip McClanahan on 2010-07-14
As part of working with Capital Factory and my day job at Silverton Partners, I've tried to put together two example presentations to help folks who are (1) pitching investors or (2) running board meetings. I received great feedback here last year and much of that has been incorporated into the 2010 versions. I hope this helps:
many companies I meet have very similar questions regarding pitching angel investors and VCs, in particular:
- What topics are required in a pitch deck?
- What depth of information is critical to have in the deck?
- What’s is the best flow from slide to slide?
This post covers a presentation outline and discussion for what I believe is a solid starting point for best practices in a typical, periodic board presentation by a start-up CEO. A good board book clearly communicates the state of the business to board members, over the course of 2-3 hours, such that board members are equipped to perform their duties. Starting point:
any / all questions and comments welcome; hope this is helpful.
-kipPRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by ammosov on 2010-06-06
Tags: Operations Fund Raising
7 lessons, and most of them are not usual textbook stuff.
Seed round in 21 days - they did it (via Founders Institute and Venturehacks in part)PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by on 2010-05-20
I have a company I have invested in; they've done the heavy lifting in having invested $750K in designing and launching (beta) a SaaS service. The service is narrow in its functional scope, but as we all know, the tactical company is about getting traction to be able to then do the strategic bigger play.
I'm trying to help them find funding, angels likely given investment total to breakeven is $1.5M; I've teed up the usual angels and angel networks here in Silicon valley;
My question is how or is there a source for the accredited angels who may 'get' and be interested in a ONE ROUND planned company; where the play is narrow in functional scope initially; It's execute now on market adoption.
Thanks!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by anon on 2010-05-13
We're looking use a file sharing website to share publications, presentations, etc. with potential investors. Are there any suggestions?PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-04-22
This is self-explanatory. Hi all, can anyone recommend a good key person insurance company/policy?
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-04-12
My company will relaunch in July. We took our site down and completely shut down operations until the relaunch. However, someone was explaining to me that we should have kept out site up and operations moving forward and just let our customers know that we would be transitioning to a new format come July. My question is, is it better to relaunch fresh with a new look and feel or is it better to show modest transitional change over time?PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-04-12
I'm looking to do an A-round for my company, which has been funded by angels so far. We have modest revenue, a couple of good clients and our product is live. We are not based in location with VCs, and I know from experience that A-round VC investors like to invest locally. So I'm thinking of "moving" to Silicon Valley. I'm wondering what the minimum requirements for "moving" are in the mind of VCs, since I know from experience that moving an existing company is not a good idea. Our development is all done in India anyway, so we're not moving that. I'm thinking of just taking some space at Regus in Silicon Valley. With offices being so virtual these days anyway, I would like some advice on what "moving" to Silicon Valley would really mean - spending 2 days a week there? Any feedback appreciated.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by MM on 2010-04-08
Looking for advice from anyone who has had experience with working with a Defense Contractor, specifically in terms of them licensing technology. Our background is in consumer products and I was not aware that they don't structure deals w. royalties in them.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on 2010-03-23
Hello, we are starting the funding process and are looking for someone who gets it - thus we would like to find an investor, angel, VC or otherwise, who is into books, writing, reading, literature. We would like someone who understands the publishing process a bit and most importantly can see the possibility of changing a stale, traditional industry and modernizing it through the use of technology.
If someone has any tips I would be very grateful!
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-27
Tags: Operations Trademarks
No matter how obscure you think something is, or how off-beat a domain name is, never, EVER register the domain and then leave it parked even for a minute.
We just went through the painful process of spending hours and hours until we hit on a cool domain name for our rebranding (sending coupons to mobile phones) -- kupongo.com. Less than 45 days later while we were working up our new look website to launch with it, we got an inquiry from someone about buying it. When we told them we were going to use it for our business... they went and registered kupongo.net and filed a trademark for kupongo in the exact same line of business. Then tried to bully us into selling them the .com domain for $500 because "we wouldn't be able to use it anyway."
Unless they don't actually put it into use (and we can then pursue abandonment), well, we can't use the domain for OUR site.
If we had used the domain at all beforehand, well, we'd have a position. But by trying to be stealthy, and conserve cash...well...it didn't work.
Lesson learned for me...don't let it happen to you!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by fnazeeri on 2010-01-21
Tags: Operations Legal Agreement
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-07
Tags: TheFunded.com Traction
So, in my experience, there are seven levels of "traction," and each level has various nuances. For example, "the launch" could be a soft launch or a beta launch. "The idea" may be rough, modeled, patented, etc.
THE TRACTION CURVE
1. The Idea
2. The Team
3. The Prototype
4. The Launch
At each level of traction, quality of the execution is measured by investors. So, a great idea with a great team may secure a similar sized funding as a mediocre idea with strong adoption.
In the 2010 market, most semi-professional investors, such as organized angels, require a prototype for serious consideration, and most venture capitalists require initial success with adoption. There are exceptions, though rare, and you can overcome the need to hit traction thresholds by dominating in the present. Amazing adoption eliminates the need for revenue (Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube). A great team overrides the need for a prototype, etc.
Any other advice?PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by calbin on 2009-11-04
Initially my business partner and I were so enamored with our idea that we didn't get feedback from our potential cutomers. This lead to a two year journey that should have taken 6 months.
Early on my partner and I said that we were not going to put our families in jeopardy for our venture. No credit cards. No risky loans. No robbing our 401k. We stuck by that and it was a wise choice.
From the outset we received tons of accolades from friends and family so we went to investors who said they liked our idea but couldn't figure out who was going to pay for it. The gift came in two forms 1) Not getting funding early which would have almost certainly been spent on a dead end road and 2) forcing us to make our idea stronger and better.
What our lack of funding made us do is go back to basics. We know we had the seed of a good idea but struggled to come up with a sustainable model. Along with lots of hard work we talked with potential customers and came up with a solid way to generate revenue. Our potential customers are now signing letters of support saying they like our product and find it beneficial for their business and are willing to be contacted by investors. We have never had this in previous attempts to raise money and now feel confident in our plan.
A potential investor we met early on who now heads an angel fund believes in our new plan and is working to get us funding. Our CA lawyer helped us craft a very sharp executive summary and in the next few weeks will begin making warm introductions.
Don't despair if you haven't gotten funded yet. It could be a gift in disguise.
So what I am asking of The Funded community is can you recommend any investors/angels/groups/VC's in the consumer space (specifically investors who might have a penchant for wine)? Thanks in advance and I will keep the community posted.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by KipMcC on 2009-08-28
The next time you talk to your law firm, let them know they should pioneer (be the first, take credit) the following concept:
Early-stage, cash-efficient start-ups increasingly require an equally efficient supply chain in order to make it work. Take for example Capital Factory, Y-combinator or even micro-style investments from more traditional VCs. A start-up raising $20k – $250k simply cant afford traditional legal costs associated with:
* equity and option plans,
* option grants,
* convertible debt agreements,
* all docs associated with being INITIALLY funded (term sheets, standardized series-A docs),
* separation agreements and release paperwork,
* contractor agreements, and so on.
I propose the following: forward-thinking law firms should create a FREE legal library that includes AT LEAST the items listed above. The should GIVE this library to start-ups that agree to become clients after a funding event of a particular size…maybe $250k or more. To be clear: I’m suggesting that law firms loss-lead with this free legal library and win clients that may become the next Google (or, realistically, may also go out of business). It’s time for the supply chain to evolve. we're starting to see some standardization of termsheets...now let's continue the thought.
Posted by TylerDurden on 2009-08-28
Good deck from Joe Beninato who's been a very successful startup Founder.
Posted by CEO for a while on 2009-08-10
Guys and Gals,
I'd like to recommend that we entrepreneurs band together to stop an inexcusable practice among VCs. I've done a few startups, sold a few companies, bought a few companies. Been active in the publicly-traded and private arenas. Something that completely irks me about VCs today is that they want entrepreneurs to open their books pre-term sheet (on top of the ridiculous gymnastics we already do to get capital.)
After a pitch, and untold number of follow-up discussions, a VC should be able to put down terms. We should not have to introduce them to any 3rd party (our valued business partners, customers, etc.) because its taxing to them UNTIL there's a term sheet on the table.
A later stage company would never let an investor or buyer in the door unless there's a term sheet. Why should an early stage company abandon this discipline?
My view is that we can make claims pre-term sheet. And if they find our claims to be exaggerated post-term sheet (during diligence), they can walk. It's non-binding anyway.
Thoughts?PRIVATE: Members Only (524 Characters)
Posted by raisecapital on 2009-07-14
In California, 25501.5 of the Corporations Code gives any person who purchases a security from, or sells a security to, a broker-dealer that is required to be licensed, but is not, the right to bring an action for rescission of the purchase or sale, or if already sold, for damages. Five year statute of limitations, or two after discovery, which ever is first.
1029.8 of the Code of Civil Procedure was amended to cover people who should be licensed as a broker-dealer, but who are not and take a commission for selling securities.
The purchaser can sue the "finder" for damages, and may recover treble damages (limited to $10,000 above the purchase price) and may be awarded attorneys fees and costs.
Most important, the law give the investor the right to rescind their investment (get their capital back) for two years, which puts the capital at risk for that period of time. That may make additional rounds more difficult to raise.
So the finder is, in fact, guaranteeing the investment.
Has anyone run into this in fund raising? Have they asked the finder about it? Has anyone recouped their investment or known of someone who did using this law?
By the way, it is my understanding that this doesn't apply to officers of the corporation.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Mr. Smith on 2009-06-26
Getting a meeting with an investor is hard these days, but it can be done. Once in a meeting, here are five strategies to make the meeting go well:
>> STICK TO THE FACTS
Sell your idea on factual information only. Avoid adjectives and superlatives whenever possible. You do not have the best, the most, or the greatest anything. Most investors see 2,500 deals per year. They need basic information to determine interest. Suspect information is a red flag, and it only takes one red flag for an investor to lose interest.
>> KEEP YOUR PITCH SHORT
You should be able to explain your company in 10 slides that take about 20 minutes to present. If you want to succeed, then videotape yourself giving the pitch. Watch the video and write down everything that you want to improve in a list. Repeat this process until you are happy with the results. At the end of your pitch, say: "does anyone have questions that I can help you with?" The shorter your pitch, the more questions that will you have, and more questions are good.
>> ANSWER EVERY QUESTION BRIEFLY
Answer every question with one or two sentences and with as few words as possible. Uncomfortable silence is a tool that you can use to elicit another question. If you do not have or know an answer, say: "I don't recall the answer to that off the top of my head, can I look it up in my files and get back to you through email." Questions are an excellent sign of interest and engagement. When an investor gets into 'question mode,' they usually have a series of 5 to 10 questions that they need answered quickly to evaluate the opportunity. You are doing well in a pitch when the investors are talking.
>> ASK FOR FEEDBACK AND TAKE NOTES
Make sure to leave a few minutes to collect feedback. Ask the investors, 'do you have any recommendations for the business?' Have a pen and paper out, and write down everything that the investors say. It's a common courtesy to take notes, and it is expected. After an investor says something, say 'thank you.' Do not get defensive. Nothing sours a relationship faster than getting into a debate.
>> BE AN EXPERT IN YOUR INDUSTRY
You should read every recent blog post and know about every key development in the primary industry and all related industries to your idea. It is very likely that an investor will have seen and researched a very similar idea within the last 45 days. It is also very likely that this investor will ask you about mundane developments or other companies in the field as a test of your knowledge and to show off their own expertise. When confronted, you say, 'Yes, I was aware of that. Thank you.' This will lead to more questions.
As a closing point, be confident and assured. A common misperception is that a deal can be done in one meeting. It usually can't. So, the goal of any meeting should be (1) to get another meeting and (2) to specify follow-up items.
Do members have some other suggestions to add in the feedback?PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-06-13
Entrepreneurs build companies and hope to make money.
Investors invest and hope to make money.
Customers buy products and hope to make money.
Advertisers advertise and hope to make money.
Employees work and hope to make money . . . . . . . . .
Using a Finder or Consultant to help you raise money is perfectly OK.
A Finder or Consultant who asks for any money upfront is not OK. If the Finder / Consultant doesn't believe in your product or service enough to base his / her compensation on the successful raising of money - then why should an investor believe in what you are doing.
The only time a Finder or Consultant should be paid is if you need extensive help with your business plan, etc. You can avoid this by creating a Board of Advisors (one of whom can help with your business plan) that would be paid in stock options down the road.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-29
Tags: Operations Meetings Board
Posted by nkannan on 2009-05-13
Tags: Venture Business CEO
I saw a blog post by Georges van Hoegaerden titled, "Idiot CEOs." Here is the link:
A very amusing post that makes us CEOs think about financing alternatives to VCs.
Your thoughts?PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-07
Tags: Funding Sources Scams
The vultures are coming out of the woodwork.PRIVATE: Members Only (383 Characters)