Attention Startup Accelerators: Your Job Is Not Over After Demo Day


The TechCrunch team was judicious in its determination of qualifiers, insisting that the accelerators be, “fixed-term, cohort-based, with educational and mentorship components, culminating in a public pitch or demo day.” A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

LAMP 211

The team behind Baidu’s first smart speaker is now using AI to make films

TechCrunch LA

Let AI write the script. ” Our 9 favorite startups from Y Combinator W19 Demo Day 2. The HBO sci-fi blockbuster Westworld has been an inspiring look into what humanlike robots can do for us in the meatspace.

Silicon Beach Fest Celebrates Tech Startups and Hollywood in LA | Pics, Highlights and What’s Next!

Tech Zulu Event

“You could feel the energy and excitement from getting everyone together, from the opening party to the inspiring panels; the creative pitches at the hackathon, demo day, angel pitch fest, and student pitch fest; and the good-times bonding from the nightly parties to the beach volleyball court.

How to Get Busy People to Take Action When You Send an Email

Both Sides of the Table

On my most important ones I spend as much time figuring out what to cut out as I do putting into the writing of it. Many people write email without a “call to action” or reason they’re writing the email. Write to one person at a time.

Email 425

Trade Show Magic – How Invoca Owned Dreamforce, Without Breaking The Bank


Why am I writing an article about a trade show that occurred nearly four months ago? 131% of team’s goal for demos – proving that booth traffic wasn’t comprised solely of swag bandits. Sexy Slogan + Interactive Demo. A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

To Sell Anything You Need to Know What Makes You Unique

Both Sides of the Table

The other worthwhile exercise is to write down what your competitors uses as its USPs – even ones that you don’t think are really valuable to customers. If you need demo tips I’ve covered that before.

Slides 357

Remind Me Why I Love You? (Why “In Person” is Everything)

Both Sides of the Table

Your product demo crushed. Frankly, it’s the life of ANY executives with whom you want to sell product, do a business development deal with, execute M&A, a journalist you want to write about your company?—?anybody. You had an amazing meeting with an investor.

IP 392

Introducing Why, oh, why Snapchat?

Both Sides of the Table

I LOVE writing. But writing takes more time and some days I don’t have that. I’m simply pointing out that by numbers more startups are founded in that younger demo).

Why VCs Should Stop Trying to be Perfect

Both Sides of the Table

Sometimes those motives are positive (they really want the chance to work with you, they think you have unique skills) and sometimes they are less positive (their first-tier of “go to” referrals passed on the deal, they don’t want to write another check themselves, etc.).

Ideas 357

How Many Investors Should You Talk to in a VC Fund Raise? And How Do You Prioritize?

Both Sides of the Table

If you’re raising a round where a new lead investor would invest $5 million the VC fund must have no less than $100 million and if you’re looking for them to write $15–20 million as the lead their fund realistically should be at least $400 million.

Why Early-Stage VCs Should Be Careful About Intros from Bankers

Both Sides of the Table

The other quote from the article is this: “The other thing they say is that they can’t tell on Demo Day which are the good start-ups. So I stand by my well-read Quora post of why I don’t attend demo days. It’s a Demo Day thing.

The Importance of Proprietary Deal Flow in Early-Stage VC

Both Sides of the Table

” The other Paul Graham quote from the article is this: “The other thing they say is that they can’t tell on Demo Day which are the good start-ups. So I stand by my well-read Quora post of why I don’t attend demo days. It’s a Demo Day thing.

Taking My Hat Off to @Shervin and His Hyperloop Ambitions

Both Sides of the Table

I’m going to write a pure admiration piece. We attended a fbFund demo day ( which I rarely do but it was put on by my long-time buddy Dave McClure – who hadn’t yet started 500Startups – and Sheryl Sandberg who was much more of a mere mortal back then).

Why I F **g Hate Unicorns and the Culture They Breed

Both Sides of the Table

The first was by Eric Cantor , the former Republican House Majority Leader in Congress writing a great Op Ed in the NY Times about the surprise resignation of John Boehner , the Republican Speaker of the House. ” This is not a blog post about politics – the op-ed is a Republican leader writing about the Republican party. It’s not about being on stage at a Demo Day or featured in an article in TechCrunch or closing a $20 million round.

Investors, MVPs and Evidence of Traction


Yesterday, I was talking to a startup founder about their MVP and they said something that finally got me to write this post: "I have a few investors interested but they want to see a product."

Taylor Freeman of UploadVR on Building a Passionate Culture for Good


We started traveling to Sundance and SXSW and these shows with awesome companies, but no one was writing about it,” Taylor said.

The Audacious Plan to Make Electricity as Easy as WiFi

Both Sides of the Table

It’s true the some VCs have started writing so many checks that they resemble stock pickers but the majority of us still have less than 10 board seats at any time and tend to go pretty deep so the result is that we care deeply about where we commit our time.

IP 427

How to Not Suck at a Group Presentation

Both Sides of the Table

So I thought I’d write a piece on how to not suck when you give a presentation. If you demo your product (which is always great) then tell us part of the story while you’re demo’ing. It is not sufficient to write yourself notes and read them before hand.

Give Your Teams Swiss Army Knives

Both Sides of the Table

Demos – One of the things that most people are bad at and that are hard to standardize is the demo. I have written about how to do a demo before (even though this was in the context of a VC pitch much of it applies). A good demo tells a story.

Sales 323

Why You Shouldn’t Launch Your Startup at a Major Tech Event

Both Sides of the Table

I’m not advocating that you shouldn’t present at tech startup events like Launch, TechCrunch 50, DEMO or similar. And ever since then every year we are subjected to the tech press corps writing the annual, “What will the hot company at SXSW be?”

Yammer 353

7 Ways to Fail When Applying to an Accelerator


Admittedly, that last part is an exaggeration but they were bad enough that I am writing this essay in the hopes that you will read it and not make these mistakes. Failure is part of the startup process.

Tips 91

Some Reflections on VC Investment Decisions

Both Sides of the Table

Don’t even get me started on Demo Days. You could spent 20 days / year at Demo Days now. I know I can’t be in every deal and I know that the easy part of being a VC is writing the first check in a deal. If an accelerator is writing you they’re also writing 25 other VCs. I was having dinner with a friend last night and we were chatting about venture capital and a bit about what I’ve learned.

Invest 300

What Every Entrepreneur Could Learn from Justin Bieber

Both Sides of the Table

Justin Bieber is unbelievably entrepreneurial and most of you will never know it because he serves a target demo that doesn’t include you. As you know, Justin’s is 8-15 year-old girls and he built his music & persona around this demo.

Hacking Hacker News – How Wily Startups Leverage Social News Sites


to actionable user feedback, "Just went through the demo. In a few instances, developers spent their weekends and evenings writing inferior versions of Microline's tools that they then released as free, open source alternatives. This article previously appeared in Forbes.

News 215

The Case for Optimism and Risk at Startups

Both Sides of the Table

uBeam’s tech does work and I have safely seen it demo’d in the real life many times. There is a battle between entrepreneurs who try to change the world and solve a meaningful problem and those who write take-down pieces with no apparent personal benefit other than attention.

Course 427

How do I Really Feel About Anonymous Apps Like Secret?

Both Sides of the Table

” I have been weighing in slowly on the topic over the past few weeks on Twitter but have avoided writing a blog post about it until now. It wasn’t because I’m the target demo for that app – I am certainly not.

Veoh 351

The Corrosive Downside of Acquihires

Both Sides of the Table

Get yourself in a big demo day competition. It’s why I love reading her writings – she’s one of the few remaining journalists in the tech sector (along with Kara Swisher and a few others) who have been around long enough to have earned their critical eyes or cynicism.

Press 375

Some Thoughts about Selling at Startups

Both Sides of the Table

The idea that the course asks students to write public blog posts is a testament to its more modern teaching style. Many MBA programs still cater too much to the needs of large, corporate management jobs or prepare students to enter big consulting companies or investments banks.

Course 342

Spend 2012 on the Right Side of the Haimish Line

Both Sides of the Table

Occasionally on this blog I break away from industry commentary and write more broadly. I refuse to go to demo days. Not just TechStars but any demo day, really. So I promised the guys that I would come and hang out with companies well before their demo days.

SoCal 341

6 Tips for Building Relationships with Journalists

Both Sides of the Table

Oh, and Demo charges the startups $18,000. Journalists don’t know enough about your company before the show, don’t have time for proper research, and you will be competing for their time afterward with 49+ other companies that want them to write about you. -

Tips 331

Snapchat 101 for VCs and Old Folks

Both Sides of the Table

Let me first address VCs or anybody else who is likely above the age where they “get” Snapchat but whose customers are likely in the age demo who use it religiously. I promise to write more about how to get the most out of it and why I think it’s important for media.

5 Mistakes to Avoid Making With Your Executive Summary

Tech Zulu Event

to “where can I get help writing one?” While it may be tempting, with everything that you have to do, to try to find someone else to write your executive summary, you really need to do this yourself. I get questions from startup founders about executive summaries all the time.

Startup Founders Should Flip Burgers

Both Sides of the Table

This includes writing product specs, going on sales calls, handling customer complaints, building the financial model and a host of other activities that will ultimately owned by functional experts. This is part of my ongoing series Startup Advice.

Retro: My Favorite Blog Post on Raising VC

Both Sides of the Table

I had seen many cycles and decided that since I was going to do it all over again I should write about it. I decided to write about my experience and to be blunt. It became a huge kerfuffle with many VC partners writing to thank me for the post, which exposed those that gave their industry a bad name. I don’t plan to write the authoritative venture capital blog, just some anecdotes. The first VC I met with came from attending DEMO.

How to Run Better Presentations & Improve Results

Both Sides of the Table

Can we do a really quick run through your deck so that we save tons of time for a product demo & questions at the end?&#. A perfect meeting gets through the deck quickly, demos a product and still has tons of time for discussion. I sit through a lot of presentations.

Slides 376