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Venture Capital is About Human Capital

Both Sides of the Table

It’s easy to think the role of a VC is to have strong opinions about markets, trends, tech dynamics and so forth. Fundamentally venture capital is about human capital. Marketing departments, software partners and investors have now woken up to this opportunity.

How to Acquire Customers by Marketing “Heroes”

Both Sides of the Table

Social Proof in Action … Yesterday I wrote about the benefits of using social proof and authority in raising venture capital. Social proof is defined as “looking for others to guide our decisions&# and is also one of the most important techniques in acquiring customers in your company.

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How to Know When to Sell vs. When to Market to Customers

Both Sides of the Table

This is final part of a series that describes a sales methodology for technology companies or frankly many other types of companies, too. Well think of it this way – you have your sales process. You know exactly when you want to sell to this customer and presumably it’s this quarter!

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My story: Fail locally, one customer at a time.


In my case as a young software entrepreneur, I had a different approach: Fail Locally, one customer at a time. You just had to be lucky, write reasonably good code and land in an industry with some legs, and of course, treat the customer well. And I would learn customer service.

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10 Marketing Lessons for Early-Stage Tech Startups

Both Sides of the Table

The following are some lessons I learned about early-stage startup marketing. Because market is such a broad topic, I’m restricting these lessons to PR marketing (as opposed SEO, SEM, product marketing, etc.). I call this “marketing futures.&#

It’s Morning in Venture Capital

Both Sides of the Table

Many observers of the venture capital industry have questioned whether its best days are behind it. Looking ahead at the next decade I am excited by what I believe will be viewed as one of the best and most rational investment periods for venture capital due to seven discrete factors: 1.

A Conversation With Appetize's Kevin Anderson On Getting Customer Service Right


This year, we're again sponsoring the Recurring Revenue Conference (, presented by Sutton Capital Partners. As part of the lead in to the conference, and as a part of our sponsor relationship with the conference, we're running a series of interviews with speakers from the conference about their experience in the area of recurring revenues, customer service, and similar topics. We respond very quickly to all of our customers.

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Master of Customer Acquisition, Matt Coffin, On Startups …

Both Sides of the Table

He is very hands-on and helpful – especially for any company looking into customer acquisition. What better than to have capital from somebody who has actually done it in the trenches? o Everything is for sale but it’s the price that moves the timing.

Female Entrepreneurs, AI and Investing: A Chat With Meredith Finn, March Capital


The summit is now associated with March Capital Partners ( We spoke with Meredith Finn a new Partner at March Capital--who headed up that the Rise of the Female Entrepreneur sessions this year--to hear more about her perspectives on investments, what the Rise of the Female Entrepeneur was all about, March's interests in artificial intelligence and more. What's your role at March Capital? Meredith Finn: I joined March Capital at the beginning of the year.

Nimble's Jon Ferrara On Retaining And Keeping Customers


This year, we're sponsoring the Recurring Revenue Conference (, presented by Sutton Capital Partners. As part of our sponsor relationship with the conference, we're running a series of interviews with speakers from the conference about their experience in the area of recurring revenues, customer service, and similar topics. What's the biggest lesson you've learned about retaining and keeping your customers using the subscription model?

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Spotlight Names Marketing Chief


Calabasas-based Spotlight , the developer of ticket management software-as-a-service, said today that it has appointed Richard Dym as its Chief Marketing Officer. The company is backed by POint Judith Capital. spotlight ticket management service saas executive marketing

Startup Sales Lessons From TLC’s “Say Yes To The Dress”


If you have your eyes and ears open, you can discover sales lessons in unexpected places, including the cable TV show, Say Yes To The Dress. There are a number of solid sales techniques on display by the Say Yes team. Startup sales require high velocity.

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This Week in Venture Capital – Episode 4

Both Sides of the Table

Dave’s a great guy with a good sense of humor and a broad knowledge of the market, which is why I was excited that he could be on the show. Here’s why that is important: when users are on your website you want to convert them to become paying customers.

3 Sales Tips for Startups – Creating a Burning Platform

Both Sides of the Table

Most start-up entrepreneurs have little or no sales experience. But through nearly a decade of startups I learned that sales comes down to three essential elements: 1. I first heard this term from the guys at First Round Capital. This is part of my ongoing series Startup Advice.

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Julie Schoenfeld On Perfect Market's New Funding


This morning, Pasadena-based Perfect Market ( announced a new, $9M round of funding for the firm's technology, which is used to help publishers monetize their content. Julie Schoenfeld: Intersting, the Los Angeles Times was one of our first customers.

Blueland launches with a suite of eco-friendly cleaning supplies designed to reduce plastic waste

TechCrunch LA

So the former venture capital investor from the consumer startup brand studio Launch set out to create one. With Naqzi on board, the company began filing patents for its unique process and the products it’s bringing to market, says Paiji.

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What Do You Need to Do to Improve Sales? Here’s a Start …

Both Sides of the Table

I write about sales often both because it’s the lifeblood of any organization and because in my experience it is the area in which more startups are least experienced or inclined. I also write and talk about it frequently because raising capital is a part of sales and this is important for entrepreneurs to understand. To make it simple and easy to remember – there are three basic rules of sales: 1. And it’s the start of any great sales process.

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Do Not Obsess On Names – Obsess On Delivering Awesome Customer Value


If Smucker’s can annually generate hundreds of millions in sales for a variety of food products, there is little risk that a mediocre company or product name will preclude you from achieving similar success. Instead, expeditiously pick a reasonable moniker and then get back to work delivering value to your customers. However, if this is true, “Aardvark” would have been a more clever choice and equally as relevant to online book sales.

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Pour And Stir II – Managing Your Cost Per Customer


As noted in Pour and Stir Part I , the key to the successful execution of this strategy is managing the following equation: The cost to acquire a customer < lifetime value of a customer. Decreasing Your Customer Acquisition Costs.

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What This Dive Bar Can Teach You About (Not) Marketing


Too bad, as they would be well served to study Dirty Franks marketing plan, which has withstood the test of time. Franks didn''t need a sign, let alone a marketing budget. Hurry Up And Stop Marketing. Entrepreneur and noted investor Brad Feld unwittingly echoed Franks approach to marketing when, during a discussion with me , he declared, " …companies should… focus on building amazing products. If you have amazing products, the marketing of those products is trivial.

RingRevenue Creates A New Performance Marketing Revenue Channel


Messenger : Rob Duva , Co-Founder, COO RingRevenue, prior Director of Customer Acquisition, CallWave. Value Prop Twitter Style : “Ringrevenue’s call performance marketing platform enables ad networks, agencies, advertisers & publishers to generate more inbound sales calls.”.

Is Your Startup Ready for Investment Capital?

Tech Zulu Event

Is it a good market opportunity? Start by figuring out who your target market is—and no, not everyone is your target market. Identify those segments that will be your best potential customers and use financial projections to predict how much you will be able to sell to them.

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Interview with Jeb Spencer, TVC Capital


The firm's investor was San Diego-based TVC Capital , which invested only $4M in total in Accordent before it was acquired. Jeb Spencer: The goal at TVC Capital is to do exactly this. The market was probably $100 million or less when we first looked at Accordent.

If You Don’t Define Your Personal Brand the Market Will

Both Sides of the Table

I have long advised startup companies that if you don’t control your messaging somebody else will and your potential customers will form impressions of you shaped by somebody else or by nobody at all. That was fine with me – the market is the market.

BloomNation: Bitcoin Opens New Market, Transactions Larger


Los Angeles-based flower delivery site BloomNation --which helps connect consumers with local floral designers--has only been offering up payment via Bitcoin for a few months, but it''s already finding that Bitcoin sales are 50 percent larger than traditional credit card sales--plus it allows the company to tap into a niche market it normally wouldn''t have been able to tap into.

The Best VC Meetings are Debates not Sales

Both Sides of the Table

I’ve sat through a lot of VC pitches and having been CEO of an enterprise software firm for many years I’ve also sat through many customer meetings with sales teams. After the sales meetings I would ask the exec afterward, “how do you think it went?&# In our internal sales training sessions I would always teach our young sales execs that this seemingly good meeting was probably not as good as they thought.

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Some Thoughts about Selling at Startups

Both Sides of the Table

I got an email recently from my friend & fellow VC, Jeff Bussgang from Flybridge Capital Partners in Boston. That student is Erin McCann who formerly worked in sales at Google, so she has some ground to stand on in her assertions. I wrote about the four types of sales people here.

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Memeo Eyes Resellers, Business Customers


Aliso Viejo-based Memeo , which operates an online backup service, is targeting resellers and the business market, saying Monday that it has launched a "reseller network" focused on helping it reach small- and medium-sized businesses. The firm said it will offer its resellers resources to market its products, including online training and sales support, plus a dedicated channel manager and phone support. The firm is venture backed by G51 Capital and the Foundry Group.

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Raising Seed Capital Now: 10 Tips

Tech Coast Venture Network

Last year, venture capitalists and angels who co-invested with them placed $7 billion into seed and early-stage deals, an 11 percent increase from 2009, according to the most recent PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree report. But as the stock market edges ever higher and the wealthier feel healthier, there’s a good chance that American startups will also get their moment in the sun. million in angel and venture capital.

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As Unicorns Multiply, Bootstrapped Tech Businesses Holding Steady


Aha makes a program that helps project managers develop new product roadmaps, which are used by others in the customer’s business, from sales. Why do unicorns get all the attention? Brian de Haaff wonders this sometimes, especially as compared to his own tech business, Aha. It’s not a “unicorn”—a business with a valuation of more than $1 billion—and it’s not even close. Instead, Aha is a bootstrapped startup.

REC Solar Shifts To Commercial Market, Sells Consumer Operations


San Luis Obispo-based solar power installer REC Solar said Tuesday that it has shifted its operations to the commercial market, and has sold its consumer operations to Sunrun. Financial terms of the sale were not announced. REC Solar said the move comes because the commercial and residential solar businesses are built on "fundamentally different models" and have different customer bases and sources of capital.

Zingle Raises $3M


Zingle's products--which are currently being used in the hospitality, parking, food and beverage, and other areas--provide a dashboard and other ways to let businesses interact with their customers via texting. According to the company, it will use the new funding round to invest further in sales, marketing and product. software saas dashboard business service customer messaging text capital venture zingle

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The Fallacy of Channels: Startups Beware

Both Sides of the Table

This is part of my ongoing series on startup advice but also filed under my sales & marketing posts. You’ve invested $1 million in building the perfect application the meet a large market need. Sort of amortizing the costs of their sales reps over more products.

Interview with Amit Jain, Bridg


If you're a bricks-and-mortar retailer, looking for information on your customers, it's often very tough to figure out who's coming in the door. The startup is backed by Morpheus Ventures, NextEquity Partners, Visa, and March Capital. Amit Jain: Bridg is a customer data platform and marketing technology for offline retailers. Our mission is to make offline customer data accessible and actionable for offline retailers.

6 Tips for Building Relationships with Journalists

Both Sides of the Table

File this under both Startup Adivce and Sales & Marketing Advice. Use the fact that you were on an anointed list to build credibility when you eventually approach journalists (and VC’s, customers, employees).

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