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Fellow VCs: Here’s Where to Invest $1B+

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From the group, over 260 founders have launched around 90 startups, raising more than $2.5B in capital.  Quite the contrary. 

Seeking Nonconsensus

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Tales become legends about founders of exceptionally transformative companies who truly struggled to get any investors’ attention early on.  These rejection emails to the founder of Airbnb represent just one of the most recent example of this familiar theme. If a startup were obvious, then everybody would be doing it. 

The Unique but Powerful Way the HubSpot Mafia is Impacting Boston Startups

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It’s official: now two months after the IPO, HubSpot has surpassed the $1B market cap threshold and has become that “pillar” company that the tech ecosystem long anticipated. Already, a handful of groups have spun out to start new ventures, like the teams at Driftt , Bedrock Data , Grokky , and NextView-backed InsightSquared.

The “Come-from-Behind” Lead Investor

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Of key importance, which we emphasize with our NextView portfolio companies when they’re out raising their Series A, is to run the conversations in parallel rather than serially. But reality doesn’t always play out as neatly. Really interested. Is it worth paying attention to this potential “come-from-behind” VC investor?

What the Founder’s Email Address Says About Your Startup

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It always feels anachronistic these days to exchange business cards when you usually have someone’s contact information anyway in an electronic format before (via email introduction) or just after (via LinkedIn connection) you meet.  johnsmith@startup.com  <– Precision trumps brevity in this startup. What else am I missing

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The VC Fundraising Timing Paradox

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Better to spend energy maximizing long-term valuation by building underlying business value rather than short-term optimizing a bidding process… so the intuitive thinking goes.   In a small number cases that approach can work, but in an overwhelming majority I’ve observed it doesn’t necessarily play out as planned.

What the Founder’s Email Address Says About Your Startup

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It always feels anachronistic these days to exchange business cards when you usually have someone’s contact information anyway in an electronic format before (via email introduction) or just after (via LinkedIn connection) you meet.  johnsmith@startup.com  <– Precision trumps brevity in this startup. What else am I missing

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Myth Busters: Debunking Seven Conventional Wisdom Maxims of Venture Capital

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Compared to most other areas of finance, venture capital is practiced as more of an art, as opposed to a science. For that reason, it’s often said that VCs learn the business best through an apprenticeship model, under the wing of a more experienced pro. REALITY: A warm introduction is neither necessary nor sufficient to get a meeting with a VC.

What A VC Orders for Breakfast Says

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One of the things that surprised me most about venture capital when I got into the business is how much VCs seem to like to meet for breakfast. VCs usually typically reserve dinners for portfolio companies’ CEOs and board members. And “doing lunch” doesn’t happen that often because VCs don’t like going out of the office mid-day much.

The Golden Age of the Boston Internet Entrepreneur

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This latter persona is still hungry, but is able to really leverage that experience-set. Today the landscape is very different from 2004.

The Right Question(s) to Ask VCs about Their Availability of Capital

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Most first and second pitch meetings with VCs are fairly lopsided, where entrepreneurs spend the bulk of the time sharing their businesses, rather than being a true exchange of both parties in developing a relationship. However, it’s rare that a venture capitalist is going to point-blank admit that his pockets are empty. It just all depends.

Our Newest NextView Team-Member: Jay Acunzo

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Rob, Lee, and I couldn’t be more excited to share that as of Monday, Jay Acunzo has joined NextView as our Director of Platform and Community. Jay joins us from HubSpot, where he was a senior manager on the marketing team, specifically leading the blog and content strategy. Although the idea of venture firms developing a platform (i.e.

(First Annual?) List of Go-To Early-Stage Service Providers in the NextView Ventures Boston Portfolio

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Recently, we surveyed our Boston-based NextView portfolio Founder/CEOs asking them about which service provider firms they’ve been using. Although these startups are very diverse businesses themselves, they face similar requirements (especially in that they’re currently all in the seed to Series B range of company stage).

Your Office Space is the Face of Your Startup

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Your office space is the face of your startup. Not only does it communicate an outward message, but like a face, a startup office provides insight into what’s going on underneath the surface. startup’s space tells a story to everyone who is involved with a company spending time there: founders, employees, investors, and (potential)

A VC Walks into Your Pitch Meeting Biased

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VCs rarely go into an entrepreneur’s pitch meeting with a completely open mind. Of course they have biases given their past experiences, like with any human interaction. More importantly, though, they have biases about whether or not they are going to find the opportunity attractive even before a word of the dialog has been spoken.

Unusual Rounds of Early-Stage Funding & What to Know

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This is an excerpt from the original post, found on NextView’s blog,  The View From Seed , launched this week. Find Find the original post  here. As the VC seed market has institutionalized, especially over the past five years, there has emerged a  prototypical seed round  profile: $1M-$1.5M

The Market Is Hot for Code Climate, NextView’s Newest Investment

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When Chad Pytel introduced me to Bryan Helmkamp , CEO/Co-founder of Code Climate , I knew that I had to pay attention. So I chatted with Bryan about Code Climate’s service, which provides automated code review (originally Ruby, but also JavaScript and now PHP).   It essentially gives developers another set of eyes on every commit.

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Three Magical VC Pitch Questions

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There are plenty of places throughout the blogosphere which talk about the typical VC meeting, delivering both advice and tips. (In that corpus, a while ago I blogged about seven mistakes that entrepreneurs often make during a pitch session.) There’s a reason that’s become “standard.” What is your “favorite future?” Success takes on many forms.

Optimizing Series A Fundraising Around…Partnership Buy-In

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Whether a startup’s initial Seed round is comprised of individual angels, seed-focused funds, larger VCs , or some combination of the three, when it’s time for the entrepreneur to raise a true Series A round, of course the goal is run a process to “optimize” it.

Back to School – VC Homework Assignments

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VCs like to give out homework. They won’t call it that, though. But rather they use words like “diligence” and “information requests.” Just like in school, the homework can actually be productive, as in this case it can lead to a new customer or advisor. Whether it’s about the market, competition, etc., Validate thinking. Build trust. Delay.

How to Find the Perfect Startup Job: Part I "Start with 'When'"

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Much of the VC blogosphere commentary about startups covers venture and angel financing with advice focused on company founders. But most people in the startup game aren’t VCs nor are they founders (yet)… but rather they’re employees of startups. ” “How do I identify promising startups?” – now so are you.

A Choir of Angel Investors Sing Different Parts

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We at NextView Ventures often invest in a startup’s first round alongside other funds; either seed stage focused ones like ourselves or larger traditional firms.  Just as often, however, we’re investing alongside individual angel investors who are participating in the round as well.  Angel investors come in many shapes and sizes, however. 

Authenticity is Experience

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People ask us at NextView all of the time: “What is the typical profile of an entrepreneur in your portfolio?”  Subtly behind that question is often one about the experience-level of the founders.  And we’ve also funded a number of serial entrepreneurs who are doing it again (and again).

Pull the Plug or Keep Searching for the Believer? When Fundraising is Tough.

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My partners and I at NextView talk a lot about how fundraising is about finding the true believers rather than convincing the skeptics.  Just when an entrepreneur had felt as though all options were exhausted, a bluebird firm appears to swoop in and lead a new (up) round of financing. 

Overly-Direct Feedback to VC Pitches

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When I first started in the VC business in 2004, I usually shared some reactions with entrepreneurs whenever we passed on pursuing an investment, but I admittedly erred towards communicating generic thoughts that were fairly non-specific but perhaps mildly helpful.  And possessing that skillset is not a necessary one to become a good investor.

Super Pro-Rata Rights Aren't Super

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On the subject of super pro-rata rights, a couple months ago Brad Feld wrote a blog post " Just Say No " and Mark Suster (after detailed explanation of both pro-rata rights and super pro-rata rights ) summed up that the reason not to take them is "you might make it difficult for you to get your company funded in the next round.

A New Dawn for Consumer Internet Acquisitions

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Over the past three years, the number of startups which have been acquired by these four companies is trending upwards. 

Start Your Marketplace Engines

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At NextView Ventures, we have a number of companies in our portfolio which are “marketplace” businesses, where buyers and sellers meet to exchange a good or service. And along the way we’ve met with or observed a larger number of seed-stage startups attempting to start them. Brute force a mini-market and expand.

Searching for the Kinect Killer App

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We at NextView have been thinking about and looking for investments in seed-stage startups which leverage the megatrend of transitioning computing away from a standard fixed-web PC world.  Of course that includes “mobile-first” applications and companies which ride the adoption of tablet devices (more on those in upcoming posts). 

How to Find the Perfect Startup Job: Part III "Selecting the Right Venture"

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Evaluating a startup as a prospective employee is tough, especially when you compare to VCs. Plus, VCs often will have met the Founder/CEOs of many of a particular startup’s competitors, so they’ll have an even richer understand of the market landscape. On one hand, of course, you’re joining a startup for the upside.

Our Investment in CustomMade: Riding the Next Wave of E-Commerce in High-Consideration Shopping

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Over the past fifteen years on the internet we’ve seen a few waves of e-commerce innovation. We’re now at a point where the average consumer is not only comfortable buying all sorts of things over the web – they’re happy to tell their friends about it too.

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How to Find the Perfect Startup Job: Part II "Sifting Through a Sea of Companies"

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Once you’ve figured out whether you want to find a very early stage startup or a late stage one (the topic of my first post in this series ), the real hard work begins. My advice: search for heat, but don’t follow - evaluate. Think of heat as a sign outside the restaurant, but not the menu. Specific questions spur new ideas.

VC Ground Game

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Conventional wisdom says that the best way to meet with a venture capitalist is to get a warm introduction.  While it’s a good rule of thumb, it’s not entirely true, which I’ve blogged about previously.) But a strong inbound reference from the same person can be even more productive.  There’s an art to the timing of these calls and/or emails.

Do Startup Location Matters Even Matter?

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About a year ago, I wrote a post about  how office space is the face of a startup – it communicates both an outward message and provides insight into what’s going on underneath, as the physical environment in which startup employees work inevitably match the company’s story and culture. In reality, though, that “area” isn’t too large.

The Startup Offsite

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When was the last time all of your startup’s management team came together to take a step back from day-to-day minutiae and think big picture?  I think it’s actually incredibly valuable for startups to occasionally, and regularly, have offsite planning sessions.  That’s their job.  But in a startup, things are fluid.  Re-energizing excitement. 

VC Fundraising is Neither a Sprint nor a Marathon

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A lot has been written for entrepreneurs about optimizing a venture capital fundraising process, but one aspect which isn’t discussed very often is the pacing of it. Two (seemingly contradictory) maxims that are often repeated in this context are: “it goes slow until it goes fast” and “time kills all deals.”

Beer Kegs and the Future of Venture Capital: What It Means for Entrepreneurs

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Last September I wrote a post outlining my view of the venture capital industry: increasingly evolving like the beer industry as it continues to mature. Large VC firms resemble Budweiser-type macrobrews, competing based on scale and brand with a standardized product across multiple geographies, sectors, and stages. So what’s going on?

A Beer Drinker's View of the Venture Industry

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Most VCs drink beer, but how much do they realize that their industry is increasingly resembling that of the beer industry? Forgive me if I start a bit theoretical. It’s intuitive to think that given economies of scale and the other benefits of size that relative market share (RMS) for a firm drives return on investment (i.e.

Are you an Inventor or a Founder?

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As a VC, I end up meeting some amazing people of many different backgrounds and profiles.  But there are two categories of people which are tightly correlated, but distinctly different.  An Inventor is always brainstorming; a Founder is brainstorming for his next company. An Inventor relishes in concepts; a Founder relishes in the details.

Time & Money - Fundraising for VC When It’s Natural

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When is the right time of the year to fundraise for a venture round? There’s a lot of conventional wisdom disguised as insight which entrepreneurs follow about optimizing the timing of their fundraising. It’s correct in principle, but in reality should be used as a guide rather than as a rule.