Where is the best source of early stage investment?


If you have been following our recent insights, you’ll be up to speed knowing that professional investors negotiate tough terms, from provisions of control over asset acquisition, eventual sale of the company, future investments, forced co-sale when others attempt to sell their shares and more.

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


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. I was previously at Salesforce Ventures for almost four years, focused on investments in companies in the enterprise software space which were strategic to Salesforce.

Angel Investing – The Most Underrated Skill: Access to Buyers

Both Sides of the Table

He’s bound to be able to help a company or two at the time of a sale. I’m obviously only naming a small fraction of their investments since I don’t feel inclined to research them all and many other great venture firms have this kind of access.

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Selling your business? Find the emotional buyer


Most investment bankers will coach you into helping them find you a strategic buyer, knowing that such sales are quicker, often less focused upon the small warts of a business, and yield higher prices than financial sales.

The most satisfying life journey is never about the money.


The rewards of angel investing. If you are in such a good place in your life, find a local angel investing group by navigating to www.angelcapitalassociation.org and clicking on “Find Angels.” Allow me to reminisce. This is the final post of this cycle.

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Does your business need money? Read this!


Some businesses require very little capital and the founder can self-finance the enterprise and retain 100% of its ownership and control from ignition through liquidity event (startup through sale). months from introduction to investment.

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Equity financing: great for rapid growth startups


First, angel investment groups come in all sizes from a few organized angels to large groups of three hundred or more. Angel groups invest from $250,000 to $1,000,000 or more in qualified investments.

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Why Hearing “No” in a Fund-Raising Process is Actually Healthy

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This is true of any buying process where a customer has to make a large investment decision on your software or when an investor must decide whether to give you $5 million. These are similar to the pipeline reviews I used to do with sales reps when I was a CEO.

Venture Capital is About Human Capital

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Most VCs did well academically and had enough career success that a venture firm was willing to give them an investment role or they were able to raise their own fund.

Why you should never have a data room — the most counter-intuitive fund-raising advice you’ll ever…

Both Sides of the Table

Or if you’re a VC raising from LPs you have to list all of your deals, your investment value, your carrying value, your multiples, your IRRs, TVPIs, DPIs, etc along with net cashflows plus your previous LPAs. For starters you have to realize that fund-raising is a sales process.

How I Got the Monkey Off My Back – Today Was a Good Day

Both Sides of the Table

At the time I pointed out: “If I had realized exits almost certainly it would be because I invested in a company that failed. Working with early-stage teams : coaching, mentoring, setting strategy, rolling up sleeves: 9/10.

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CapLinked Raise $1.6m Series A Round & Appoint Adam Sroka As VP Technology

Tech Zulu Event

CapLinked says the round of funding and new appointment are an advancement in their move to displace the legacy left by Virtual Data Room (VDR) with their intuitive new product for coordinating on complex business deals such as asset sales, financings, and mergers and acquisitions.

How To Maximize Your Value At A Startup: Your Greatest Ability Is Often Your Availability


His willingness to add value wherever his coach needed him most, not only helped his teams win three consecutive World Championships, but it also allowed Bert to extend his career by making himself Indispensible.

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The Importance of Teams and Why the Best Leaders Cultivate Them

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Increasingly I find myself engaging executive coaches at companies an trying to help executive teams get 360 degree feedback. The best leaders I know encourage coaches to come in and are willing to listen to feedback about themselves. It seems to me that we obsess too much with product features, sales pipelines, competitive pressures, fund raising and such. In short I look at team dynamics and it forms a very important part of my investment decision.

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Be Careful About Being a Meddling Startup CEO

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Fred Wilson also wrote on a similar topic in his usual more succinct manner , with a great quote being: “One thing I know for sure is that those who advise and invest in startups cannot and should not meddle in the day to day decision making. In practice it can be a fine line between sparring partner / coach and stepping over the line to brute-force persuasion. Sales. Another area we CEOs often meddle is in sales.

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What I Would Look for When Choosing a VC – Knowing What I Know Now?

Both Sides of the Table

VCs should be more of a coach than proscriptively telling you what to do. Of course it is super helpful if a VC can drop you in to important people for business development, recruiting, PR, sales and eventually M&A. I think of VCs as coaches. Picking a VC is hard.

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How Boards Need to Evolve Over Time

Both Sides of the Table

With small amounts of money invested (sub $3 million) the risks are reasonably low for most VCs and the consequences of bad decisions or decisions a VC has limited say in is tolerable. how much energy to put into channel partners vs. direct sales. How to set sales quotas.

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Why Your Startup Doesn’t Need a COO

Both Sides of the Table

They will often run all of the daily reports into them covering off for finance, sales, marketing, biz dev & HR. You can always spot these types because they can’t tell you what their revenue number for last month was or what their sales target is for next month.

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Don’t Let Your Startup O.D. On Cash


Startups should only spend their money on initiatives that deliver a discernible, measurable return on investment. For many years after Microsoft became highly successful, its executives (yes, including Mr. Gates) flew coach. A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes.

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Some Thoughts on Leadership Going into 2016

Both Sides of the Table

We want to invest in early-stage technology enabled startup businesses – upfront in the funding cycle. In fact, 90% of our investments are either Seed or A-round investments (10% are B-round). We’re a national venture capital investment firm but with our roots firmly in Los Angeles. In fact, 50% of our investments are in Southern California, from Santa Barbara to San Diego. We try to recruit investment partners who bring startup operating experience.

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There are three kinds of business buyers.


Most investment bankers will coach you into helping them find you a strategic buyer, knowing that such sales are quicker, often less focused upon the small warts of a business, and yield higher prices than financial sales. You may be a most successful direct competitor, one that the buyer’s sales people have observed jealously and nervously, sometimes even jumping over to your company as a result.

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People Management: Startup Teams Should Dip but not Skip

Both Sides of the Table

You’ll get sales information from your VP of Sales, marketing information from your VP Marketing, tech information from your CTO and so on. An obvious example would be in sales. It might tell you that you need better sales training or to hone your key selling messages.

Who Should you Hire at a Startup?

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Please don’t also confuse this with whether a VC should invest in a CEO who’s done it before – that’s a given. Weight Class : Let’s take sales. At your stage of development do you really think a shit-hot VP Sales is going to join you to head up sales?

The Perils of Founder Fighting

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– while the other might want a quick sale and pocket some bucks while the tech market is hot. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s why I believe executive coaches are so important for startups who have the financial resources to afford them.

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Raise cash from trusted, close resources first.


This insight follows closely the conclusions from the previous declaration, that professional investors negotiate tough terms, from provisions of control over asset acquisition, eventual sale of the company, future investments, forced co-sale when others attempt to sell their shares and more. And yet, in an earlier insight, we spoke of the problems that come when taking unstructured investments from friends and family.

As Populist as it May Feel, 98% of VCs Aren’t Dumb

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Most top tier VCs return about 3x invested capital and outlier funds (the best of a vintage) might return 6-8x. But the larger funds usually have lower returns because they are often investing bigger dollars at later stages with less risk and therefore lower returns. And Coach Campbell.

What Makes an Entrepreneur? Four Letters: JFDI

Both Sides of the Table

Your head of sales thinks she should fire somebody. You’re sales person is getting blocked by the CTO who says she shouldn’t go above him but the CTO isn’t approving the deal. Yes, I know it’s my job as the CEO to be the coach for people and that’s fine.

Do VC Platforms Make Sense?

Both Sides of the Table

While firms define platforms differently, let’s just say they are the services that a VC offers outside of investment capital and partner time on boards or providing intros. As a starting point you have to realize that investment firms (which a VC is) have management needs.

Getting Back Your Series A Mojo

Both Sides of the Table

I don’t know if I should keep investing in them. Confidence is THE single most important attribute in being able to attract money, hire staff, stave off creditors, get press, do biz dev deals, close big sales and one day sell your company.

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Interview with Robin Richards, CareerArc


What we saw with CareerArc, was there was already a tremendous amount of investment in the middle of the market, with all of these different services and products that went into taking care of an employee when they were hired until they were let go. The final piece is online coaching, which allows people, 7 days a week, to click and talk to a professional development coach, and help them go through questions, answer things like what should by resume look like.

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How to Develop Your Fund Raising Strategy

Both Sides of the Table

Fund raising (as is much of life) is a sale – pure and simple. As with any sales campaign you need to: Qualify your buyers early so you focus your scarce resources on people likely to buy your product. Partners make investment decisions. Do they have money to invest?

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. The group invested $8.7 “Don’t enter the process blind,” says Jamie Rhodes, an investor in Austin with Central Texas Angel Network , which invested $5.5

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Board members must protect the coporation before themselves.


Even venture capitalists who sit on boards where they have significant investments often forget this point. They write into their investment documents that they will occupy a seat on the board for as long as they are invested in the company, thinking of this as a protection for their investment and tool for them to influence growth. All other board functions are secondary.

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Every Dollar Spent At A Startup Should Yield A Return


For many years after Microsoft became highly successful, its executives (yes, including Mr. Gates) flew coach. Bill understood that startups must spend their money on assets that will deliver a Return on Investment (“ROI”).

8 Tips To Get the Most Out of Your Investors and Board

Both Sides of the Table

Understanding where your VC partner sits in their respective fund and where their fund is in the cycle of its investment lifecycle will help you understand your VCs behavior. Each of your angels or seed investors may have 20-30 investments. Rob Bailey is the CEO of DataSift.

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