2018

What Can You Learn From Ring’s Astounding Success?

Both Sides of the Table

Many people will write the history on why Ring became an enormously successful company and why it became a real-world unicorn in a world when many startups are anointed that merely on paper. Since I had a ringside seat to the company before it really existed all the way through the end I thought I’d offer my version and what I think it means for our future.

VCs say Silicon Valley isn’t the gold mine it used to be

TechCrunch LA

In the days leading up to TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018, The Economist published the cover story, ‘Why Startups Are Leaving Silicon Valley.’ ’ The author outlined reasons why the Valley has “peaked.” ” Venture capital investors are deploying capital outside the Bay Area more than ever before. High-profile entrepreneurs and investors, Peter Thiel, for example , have left.

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LA Ranks Second in Tech Office Market Rent Growth

L.A. Business Journal

Los Angeles’ technology sector is growing, according to a recent study from real estate brokerage firm CBRE Group Inc

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Selling your business? Find the emotional buyer

Berkonomics

This is one of my favorite insights, since I lived this one in a positive exit from my computer business. Types of business buyers expanded. Most people will tell you that there are two kinds of eventual buyers for your business: financial and strategic. A financial buyer will analyze your numbers, past and forecast, to the n’th degree, and calculate the price based upon the result, after carefully comparing your numbers with those of others in the same and similar industries.

Can You Ask for Office Rent Relief? How to Manage Your Lease During COVID-19

Office leases are one of companies’ largest expenses, and if your whole team is working from home with no clear end in sight, you may be wondering what to do about your lease.

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

Both Sides of the Table

You had an amazing meeting with an investor. Your product demo crushed. The dialog was great. They told you how much they loved your space. The meeting was only supposed to last 45 minutes but you ran 90. The assistant tried to end the meeting twice but was shoooshed away. You race back to the office to tell everybody how well it went and you wait for the follow-up call to have a partners’ meeting or talk about term sheets or at least dip into due diligence. One week. Two weeks. Oh, fork.

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The next big restaurant chain may not own any kitchens

TechCrunch LA

If investors at some of the biggest technology companies are right, the next big restaurant chain could have no kitchens of its own. These venture capitalists think the same forces that have transformed transportation, media, retail and logistics will also work their way through prepared food businesses. The Battle Is For The Customer Interface.

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Pray.com Finds $14M For Social Networking For Religious Communities

socalTECH

Westlake Village-based Pray.com , which develops social networking applications for religious communities, has raised $14M in a Series A funding, the company said this week. The funding was led by TPG Growth, and also included Science Inc. and Greylock Partners. The startup, led by CEO Steve Gatena, has been based at California Lutheran University's Hub101 Incubator, and received a stealth seed funding round last year from Science and Greylock, which had not previously been announced.

My First Book – Pricing Your Practice by Eric Greenspan

Eric Greenspan

Woke up and there it was, my book cover. She just made it and sent it to me. I looked at it for a bit and started thinking about writing it. Then I did. I published the initial draft this past weekend and it’s now available for pre-order on Amazon. It’s interesting how the headline mentions “mindset” as that’s what happened here. My fiance, Angela, who is in her final year of law school, put this in my mind. All she sent was a cover, an idea, in my inbox.

Keep A Real Job Until Your New Venture Shows Traction

Startup Professionals Musings

One of the big decisions every aspiring entrepreneur has to make is when to quit your current job to devote yourself fulltime to your new startup. Some of you are so committed to the new passion that you quit your day job early, and dedicate all your time and resources to the new venture. Others wait until the new business starts to generate revenue and profit before making the move. Which is right?

Top CTO Challenges for 2019

SoCal CTO

The LA CTO Forum recently conducted a survey to find out what our Chief Technology Officer (CTO) members saw as their biggest challenges heading into 2019. We received over 250 responses that provides a pretty good insight into the top CTO challenges. The rating scale was 1-5 with: Not a challenge A small challenge Somewhat a challenge Definitely a challenge Keeps me up at night We provide both an Average and a Scaled Rating that gives much higher weight to 4s and 5s and discounts 1s and 2s.

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In 2018, Everything Old Is New Again…At Least As Far As Recruiting Is Concerned

Fistful of Talent

The recruiting world is a funny place. We have to bend, all the time. We scale up when supply is not in our favor, spreading our budgets thin and leveraging all resources. The sense of urgency, of securing “that hire” yesterday, is incredible. When supply is in our favor, we trim the budgets, and maximize time to fill. When one resource or tool no longer meets our needs, or generates nominal ROI, we move on.

The Life This Wearable Saves Might Be Yours

InfoChachkie

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Have you ever had a couple of drinks, started to feel a mild buzz and wondered if you’re over the legal limit? If you’ve had drinks in a public setting, the answer is likely “Heck yes.”. A Santa Barbara based company, Milo Sensors, is tackling this problem via a wearable that constantly alerts your smartphone of your blood alcohol level.

L.A. Among the Finalists for Amazon’s 2nd Headquarters

L.A. Business Journal

Los Angeles was named by Amazon as one of the 20 finalist cities for the Seattle e-commerce giant’s second headquarters

Why not share your liquidity success with those who got you there?

Berkonomics

So, you are close to selling your company, and counting the profits a bit early. Well, that’s human nature. Here’s a thought for you to recall later when and if the event happens. Remember those who got you there. And for tax reasons, remember them before the closing of the deal, so that you can do so by sharing a bit of your proceeds without paying personal income tax upon those amounts. Formal option plans for some.

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How to Improve Your Odds of Getting to Yes with a VC — “Land and Expand”

Both Sides of the Table

If you’ve read any of my ongoing series on fund raising from venture capitalist (episode 1?— ?controlling controlling your psychology ) you no doubt have heard me say that raising capital is a sales & marketing process.

Meet Lumi, the Los Angeles startup that just raised $9 million for a packaging business

TechCrunch LA

Alongside co-founder and longtime partner Stephan Ango, Jesse Genet has built a business with Lumi that’s already been profitable, and has just raised $9 million in venture funding to boost its growth. Read More. Fundings & Exits Logistics Startups TC lumi Spark Capital Los Angeles packaging eCommerce online retail online shopping e-commerce forerunner ventures

Framework Benchmarks Round 15

TechEmpower

What better day than Valentine's Day to renew one's vow to create high-performance web applications? Respecting the time of your users is a sure way to earn their love and loyalty. And the perfect start is selecting high-performance platforms and frameworks. Results from Round 15 of the Web Framework Benchmarks project are now available! Round 15 includes results from the physical hardware environment at Server Central.

Pavemint Literally Makes Parking In LA A Musical

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based parking marketplace Pavemint wants to make parking in Los Angeles like a musical--quite literally. In a promotion for the service, which connects people with parking spaces with LA residents needing a space, Pavemint has rolled out a new music video featuring such film and TV stars as HGTV's Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, KTLA's Libert Chan, and Cool Runnings' Rawle D. Lewis, Angelyne and Clipper Darrell, plus a long list of social media and influencers.

13 Ecosystem Builders That Are Boosting Startup Growth

Tech.Co

If you’re an early-stage entrepreneur, technology has served you well. The barriers to entry when it comes to launching a company require less tension and a lot less capital. In fact, for the most part, all you need is a laptop and Wi-Fi connection. Still though, when founders are seeking funding, “ 75 percent of the venture capital goes to three states: Massachusetts, New York, and California,” said Steve Case in an interview with Recode.

8 Smart Tips To Soliciting Friends And Family Funding

Startup Professionals Musings

It’s great to start with a big dream as you contemplate a new business, but finding the money you need takes more than dreaming. As an advisor to young entrepreneurs, I find that many are a bit naïve about how the investment process really works. For example, I just read an otherwise impressive business plan last week from a first-timer who asked for $10 million to get started.

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Three Bitcoin Billionaires Share Their Story of How They Moved Early into the Asset Class

Both Sides of the Table

At the recent Upfront Summit my partner Stuart Lander had the opportunity to show some California Love and interview three of the wealthiest Bitcoin owners, each of whom were some of the earliest owners in the asset class and who haven’t sold any of their holdings. It’s an extraordinary story ranging from Jaime who studies cryptography in college to Bryan who was early in selling products on Silk Road to Steven owns 179,000 Bitcoin worth more than $2 billion.

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

Both Sides of the Table

Why you should never have a data room?—?the the most counter-intuitive fund-raising advice you’ll ever get I’m about to offer you some fund-raising advice that flies directly in the face of what most conventional wisdom will tell you. If you stick through to the end I’m guessing I can persuade most of you. Let me start out with my premise: “Data rooms are where fund-raising processes go to die.” I have to back up and give you more context.

Guerilla Marketing: An Empty UPS Envelope Doubled This Company’s Sales

InfoChachkie

A version of this article previously appeared in The Wall Street Journal. What would you do if you opened a UPS envelope and there was nothing inside? A scrappy startup inadvertently answered this question when they accidentally mailed several hundred empty UPS envelopes. Note: the company has asked to remain anonymous, as they don’t want to alert their competitors to the success of their Stealth Campaign. The Stealth Campaign.

Silicon Beach Report Feb. 2: Science Closes $75 Million Fund

L.A. Business Journal

Science closes $75 million fund; Elon Musk’s Boring Co. sells all its flamethrowers; and Snapchat is selling hats and sweatshirts inside its app

Take advantage of the good times to build stakeholder loyalty.

Berkonomics

Loyalty is a hard-earned commodity. There are several times when stakeholder loyalty is tested to the limit. For employees, a late or missed payroll is the ultimate test of corporate loyalty, divorced even from an employee’s ability to make do without a paycheck. For investors, a subsequent down round at a lower valuation than the last, or an exit opportunity at a loss are all opportunities for the affected stakeholder to show a side that can sometimes shock an entrepreneur or CEO.

How to Out Amazon, Amazon

Both Sides of the Table

There has always been tension between CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies and the retailers who sell their products to consumers. If a consumer will pay a fixed price for a product or service then the battle over who gets the margin in any sale is between the person who merchandises a product and the person who manufactures it. This is an age-old marketplace tension where leverage often determines the value captured. This is true whether it’s physical products or media products.

Bird is raising $100 million to become the Uber of electric scooters

TechCrunch LA

“It feels like investing in Uber when it first launched.” ” That’s what one investor said of the hot new Santa Monica, Calif.-based based startup, Bird — an electric scooter company that’s now in the process of raising as much as $100 million on a $300 million valuation, according to several people with knowledge of the company’s […].

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Framework Benchmarks Hardware Update

TechEmpower

We have retired the hardware environment provided by Server Central for our Web Framework Benchmarks project. We want to sincerely thank Server Central for having provided servers from their lab environment to our project. Their contribution allowed us to continue testing on physical hardware with 10-gigabit Ethernet. Ten-gigabit Ethernet gives the highest-performing frameworks opportunity to shine.

Casa Verde Capital Raises $45M Investment Fund

socalTECH

West Hollywood-based Casa Verde Capital said this week that it has raised $45M in its debut, investment fund, which will specifically invest in the "ancillary cannabis" industry. The venture capital firm--whose founders include Calvin Broadus (aka Snoop Dogg)--said it will specifically invest in agtech, health & wellness, financial services, technology, media, compliance and laboratory technology related to the legal cannabis industry. The company's Managing Partner is Karan Wadhera.

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6 Ways Tech Startups Are Changing in 2019

Tech.Co

Tech startups are always looking to capitalize on the next big thing. And every year, the startup ecosystem is slightly different. Entrepreneurs preparing to launch a startup in 2019 should be aware of the latest trends that will guide their successes or failures. Industry analyst Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends presentation relies on data gathered across 2017.

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7 Attributes Of People With An Entrepreneur Mindset

Startup Professionals Musings

As an angel investor and a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs, I’m always disappointed to see founders who seem stressed out most of the time, and more annoyed than energized by the abundance of challenges they see in building their startup. The entrepreneurial lifestyle is a tough one under the best of circumstances, and it’s one you have to love in order to succeed.

How to Talk About Valuation When a VC Asks

Both Sides of the Table

One of the hardest things about the fund-raising process for entrepreneurs is that you’re trying to raise money from people who have “asymmetric information.” VC firms see thousands of deals and have a refined sense of how the market is valuing deals because they get price signals across all of these deals. As an entrepreneur it can feel as intimidating as going to buy a car where the dealer knows the price of every make & model of a car and you’re guessing at how much to pay.

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

Both Sides of the Table

This is part of a series of advice for founders who need to raise money from venture capitalists. The first in the series is “ Lemons Ripen Early ,” which also has a link to other posts. The most important advice I could give you before you set out in fund raising mode is to understand that fund-raising a sales & marketing process and needs to be managed. Somehow many first-time founders equate “sales” with something that is beneath them.

Parenting An Entrepreneur – This Folktale Will Teach Your Children To Create Something From Nothing

InfoChachkie

A version of this article previously appeared Forbes. Marcia Brown’s 1947 retelling of the classic French folktale Stone Soup is a de facto playbook for how to start a venture. In Ms. Brown’s version of this oft-told tale, three soldiers enter a small town during a time of war. Initially, all of the villagers flee to their modest homes and shun the soldiers’ request for food and lodging. However, the villagers do not realize that these travelers are not merely foraging soldiers.

Miso Robotics' Robot Chef Continues Work at Dodger Stadium

L.A. Business Journal

A Pasadena robotics and artificial intelligence outfit that’s been using a robot to fry chicken tenders at Dodger Stadium just gave the bots an upgrade to include the frying skill

Insurance is always too expensive – until it’s needed.

Berkonomics

I expect that you have a story about how insurance saved you lots of money in your past. As usual, I have a story to make your hair stand on end. But first: here’s a fact. Business insurance is one of the more poorly managed mitigation of risk in small and many medium sized corporations, often because of failure to assign the responsibility to an individual or department, and sometimes just from the willingness to bet against the event and save cash. Business package policies.

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