Both Sides of the Table

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.

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

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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.

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.”

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

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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 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?”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

What Media Execs Missed about YouTube Stars

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For Father’s Day I was watching the most heartfelt movies I’ve seen in a long time, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”

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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.

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.

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.

Be Careful Not to Lose Twice

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There are times to fight. No great startup has been built without getting one’s knuckles bloody at times. This is especially true because incumbents now know how much is at stake when they let a startup get a huge head start in a market.

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Planning Your Fund Raising — “Measure Twice, Cut Once”

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There is an old management saying, “measure twice, cut once” which refers to the benefit of doing some planning. It’s the antithesis of “ready, fire, aim” which seems to be so prevalent in today’s society.

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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.

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

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Every entrepreneur wants to hear “yes” during the fund-raising process but I would argue that being too risk averse and not pushing hard enough and be willing to hear a “no” is what holds back many people from “yes.”

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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.

I Know Everybody Told You to Send Your Fund-Raising Decks as a Link.

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I Know Everybody Told You to Send Your Fund-Raising Decks as a Link. Here’s Why You Should Just Send the Deck I know you have your document sending tool to send your fund-raising deck to VCs and track who read your deck, which pages they read and how much time they spend on each page.

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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.

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.

Some Advice Before You Hit the Fund Raising Trail

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Fund raising. It definitely has a “d” in it, as in it’s really not fun, raising. But it’s critical for your business, for you as a leader and people who excel at fund raising have an extreme advantage over those who do not.

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.

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.

The Breakthrough Presentation that Stole the Upfront Summit

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If a picture is worth a thousand words then you already know that Chamillionaire is having a great time with his new startup Convoz. He’s here on stage with Snoop Dogg and they had just dialed in Shaq to record a live video for his platform. It was just announced today on TechCrunch.

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.

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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I Only Have 7 Trips Left. On Managing Work / Life Balance, Love & Family

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Like many people these days, I spent much of my 20’s and early 30’s thinking about work & fun and not too much about “the future.” Like characters from one of my favorite novels “ The Unbearable Lightness of Being ” life seemed very light.

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“What Unites Us” —Important Lessons from @danrather at the #UpfrontSummit

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“The institution of a free press in America is in a state of crisis greater than I have ever seen in my lifetime , and perhaps in any moment in this nation’s history.”?—?Dan

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Details of Upfront Ventures New $400 Million Fund

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I am so proud and humbled to be able to formally announce that Upfront Ventures has raised its 6th venture capital fund in the past 21 years. Upfront VI is our latest core fund and is $400 million to invest in early stage entrepreneurs.

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.

Why the Former President of Nickelodeon Joined mitú as CEO.

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Why the Former President of Nickelodeon Joined mitú as CEO.

How Tech Leaders & Venture Capitalists Can Get Out of Our “Man Box”

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If I had just one wish for VCs it would be that they would preview the Ted Bunch “Man Box” talk at the Upfront Summit at their Monday Partner Meetings. I would love it if startup leadership teams would preview it to their executive leadership. We need to learn from women and listen to them.

Why It’s OK to Show Your Anger

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There’s an old saying in polite circles in the United States that there are two things one should never talk about a social gatherings: Politics & Religion.

How MakeSpace Recently Closed $30 million in New Funding

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Just over a year ago I wrote about how MakeSpace had raised $17.5 million in capital to build out its operations in 4 cities: New York City , Los Angeles , Chicago and Washington D.C.

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Why 2017 Should be a Great Year to Raise Venture Capital

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Recently Upfront Ventures published its outlook for the technology startup world and venture capital overall titled it “ WTF Happened to Winter ?” The conclusion of our report was that winter did come, but it was mild and short.

“Visibility” — A Powerful Lesson on DACA and The American Dream from @LeonKrauze

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León Krauze from Univisión gave an impassioned keynote presentation at The Upfront Summit on the topic of “invisibility” of immigrant workers in our society. It moved people to tears, was widely Tweeted and several people asked me to share this video. Invisibility.