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Why Has Seed Investing Declined? And What Does this Mean for the Future?

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Seed investments are down by any measure (funds, deals, dollars) over the past 3 years in deals < $1 million AND in deals between $1–5 million. What gives?

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My Commencement Speech?—?Life at Your Crossroads

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My Commencement Speech?—?Life Life at Your Crossroads Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash Crossroads Cal Poly Pomona! What’s up!?! I’m so grateful to be up here addressing you today. Today you’re either here to graduate or support somebody graduating.

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High Functioning vs. Low Functioning Startup Boards

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I’ve sat on many boards over the past 2 decades and seen my share of high-functioning boards and low-functioning boards.

What Did I Learn From the First VC Check I Ever Wrote?

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I became a VC 12 years ago in 2007 when the pace of deals was much slower. I had just left Salesforce.com where I was VP, Products, after they had acquired my second startup.

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A Deep Dive into What Has Really Changed in Venture Capital

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I’ve heard a lot of people question whether there is too much money in venture capital chasing too few great deals. “We’re We’re in a new tech bubble!” some have pronounced. Valuations are out of control” is the mantra of others.

One Simple Way to Eliminate Distractions in a Board Meeting

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

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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.

The Truth About the Scooter Economy?—?An Insider’s Perspective

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The Truth About the Scooter Economy?—?An

How to Run an Effective Networking Dinner

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Photo by Juliette F on Unsplash Networking is a critical part of relationship building and there is no event more valuable to building relationships than the proverbial “breaking of bread” with people.

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

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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 One Thing That Great Leaders Understand

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One Thing That Great Leaders Understand I was scanning Twitter this past week and I came across these great Tweets by Michael Seibel at Y Combinator. When I was young I thought management was about distribution/delegation of responsibilities.

This is the Dumbest Op Ed I’ve Read in a While

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I understand that Adam Grant is a fairly popular professor at Wharton and has a book that some people loved called “Originals” (for me it interesting but not mind blowing, and I have some first-hand knowledge of some of its inaccuracies).

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

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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.

How to Be a Good Board Member

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I have been writing a series on how startup boards get selected, who sits on them and what to avoid. I will also delve into how to prepare for them, how to make the meeting effective and how to best follow up to make sure people take action.

How to Out Amazon, Amazon

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There has always been tension between CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies and the retailers who sell their products to consumers.

How to Talk About Valuation When a VC Asks

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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.”

Why You Can’t Get Serious About Productivity Unless You Optimize How Your People Use Your Space

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I fund startups for a living and before that I ran two software startups that I founded. I’ve spent countless hours looking at historical finances, budgets, forecasts and future projections.

Managing Your Startup Board?—?A Short Presentation

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Managing Your Startup Board?—?A A Short Presentation I was invited to do a keynote presentation at the Khosla Ventures CEO Summit this week in Sausalito.

How to Prepare for a Board Meeting to Make Sure you Crush It

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Most board meetings are administrative updates that accomplish very little other than inform board members about the performance of the company since the last board meeting.

Who Should be on Your Startup Board?

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One of the things that founders have the most angst about is whom they should have on their board and at what stage of the business.

Announcing Projector?—?A Startup I’ve Been Excited to Tell You About for Years

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Announcing Projector?—?A A Startup I’ve Been Excited to Tell You About for Years A few years ago I spent time in prison with Trevor O’Brien , the founder of Projector. Yes, I always imagined announcing the company that way.

The VC Inclusion Clause #MovingForward

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Upfront Ventures has a deep-seated commitment to equality in funding & building diverse teams across all ethnicities, nationalities and genders. We do this not just because it’s the right thing to do but also we believe it will help drive large and differentiated returns.

Understanding What’s Going on in #LATech

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Upfront Ventures was created 20 years ago as one of the original VC funds in Los Angeles. Back then only 15% of our dollars were invested locally whereas today 50% of our dollars are invested in LA.

What Happens When Startups Turn from Their Innovation Stage to Operational Excellence?

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Nearly every successful tech startup I’ve observed over the past 20 years has gone through a similar growth pattern: Innovate, systematize then scale operations.

How I Promise You One of the Most Meaningful Days of Your Life

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I know the title “I promise you one of the most meaningful days of your life” sounds grandiose but I mean it and I hope you’ll read through to the end and choose to take one small, totally free action, that will change your life and likely those of others.

And Then They Came for Me …

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Yesterday was Halloween in the United States where children dress up and try to scare people as they “trick-or-treat” for candy. Yet the only horror I experienced was watching Peter Thiel stand in front of a national media audience and re-endorse Donald Trump for President.

Startup Boards

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Startups that are backed by professional financial investors almost always have a Board of Directors that consists of some set of founders, investors and sometimes independent directors.

Why Confidence is So Important in Fund Raising

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I was recently with an entrepreneur and talking with him about his fund raising process. He was in a later-stage financing round and was talking with many investors. Some started asking him for very specific analyses to be completed on his data and wanted his company to crunch the numbers.

Venture Capital is About Human Capital

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Gregg Johnson, CEO of Invoca For the first 5 years or so after I became a VC I didn’t talk much about what I thought a VC should be excellent at since frankly I wasn’t sure. I was mostly doing my job and trying to figure out how to be better every day.

How Much Should You Raise in Your VC Round? And What is a VC Looking at in Your Model?

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There’s a quick litmus-test conversation any early-stage VC will have with the founder and it’s one that you should be as prepared for as your elevator pitch. It goes something like this … VC: “How much money are you raising?” Founder: “$8–10 million” VC: “What’s your current burn rate?”

All The Questions You Wanted Answered about Bird Scooters and Their Recent $300 Million Funding

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What Should You Send a VC Before Your Meeting?

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One of the hardest things to know when you’re new to fund raising is what you’re supposed to send to an investor, when and will they keep your information confidential. As a VC and former entrepreneur let me offer you some advice. This is part of a series on how to improve your fund raising game.

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Some Quick Things Every Founder Should Know

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One thing that comes with being a venture capitalist is you see hundreds and hundreds of businesses. You get to have interesting conversations with founders and review business plans and then see how these businesses evolve over the years.

What Can You Learn From Ring’s Astounding Success?

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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.

A Teachable Moment on Race

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Yesterday was the opening of the African American Museum in Washington DC, dedicated to the role that African Americans have played in building our country and our culture. It was signed into law 13 years ago by then president George W.

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Why Female Founder Office Hours is So Important

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If you haven’t yet heard about Female Founder Office Hours it is an initiative you should be aware of whether you’re male, female or any other gender identify.

The Case For & Against Cryptocurrencies (for those tired of all the noise)

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In more than a decade of writing about the Internet and tech-enabled businesses I’ve learned that mobs don’t do nuance well.

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

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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.

Why Stacey Abrams got the First Standing Ovation in #UpfrontSummit History

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Stacey Abrams Interviewed by Lisa Borders, CEO of TimesUp This past week Stacey Abrams spoke at The Upfront Summit in a 25-minute talk followed by a breakout town hall discussion. You may know that later today she will deliver the response to The State of the Union speech by the president.

Let Me Point out to you How Ridiculous the Trump Tech Meeting Was

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A room full of some of the top tech leaders in our country: Apple, Facebook, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Amazon, Tesla and so forth. It’s a breath of fresh air to see that Marc Benioff, who has become a beacon for protecting the rights of our most vulnerable citizens, is not in attendance.

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Understanding the Herd Mentality of VCs and How not to Let it Psyche You Out

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Whether you’re fund raising from angels, seed investors and VCs?—?as as an industry we succumb to “herd mentality.” There are a few exceptions and originally thinkers but it’s maddening how much group think and need for social proof there are.

One Small Change I Made That Improved My Daily Mental State

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We all have a pretty good idea about things that drag down our productivity or suck up time that would be better spent on more fulfilling activities. Two years ago I made a commitment to stop bringing my mobile phone into my bedroom and with like a 95% compliance rate this made a big improvement.

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Why We Must Have Zero Tolerance for Sexual Misconduct in Venture Capital

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Time Magazine published its “person of the year” edition today and honored “the silence breakers” for speaking up and forcing our society to confront its position towards men in power exploiting their power for sexual gain. Real change is clearly needed.