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Announcing NextView’s Everyday Economy Accelerator

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We at NextView Ventures are sensitive to the challenges which all startups face during these times brought upon us by the current Coronavirus crisis. As we have discussed elsewhere, the world of early stage investing is shifting from FOMO ( F ear O f M issing O ut) to FOLD (Fear Of Looking Dumb).

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Our Scoring System at NextView (aka How We Evaluate Companies)

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A few weeks ago, I published a post on how we make decisions and vote at NextView. Usually when we record our votes, we also score each company based on five attributes. This isn’t used as a “scorecard” where companies need to clear a certain quantitative bar to get through our process.

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What Do Your Customers Want to Buy?

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After building NextView for almost 10 years now, I’ve been having more conversations recently with first time managers looking for some tactical advice. Raising one’s first fund is hard, and there are always a plethora of voices that will tell you that it’s impossible for many different reasons.

Updating Your Seed Investors – Board Deck & Update Email Templates

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Today I’m excited to announce the relaunch of our most popular resource ever: board meeting deck templates for seed-stage startups, now in conjunction with an investor update email template. Download Board Deck Template . Download Investor Update Email Template. Investor Update Email Template and How & When to Use It. We first released a version of the board meeting deck template template back in 2014 and then a revised version a couple of years later.

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Building Healthy Innovation Ecosystems for Your Projects

Speaker: Nick Noreña, Innovation Coach and Advisor, Kromatic

In this webinar, Nick Noreña will walk through an Innovation Ecosystem Model that he and his team at Kromatic have developed to help investors, heads of product, teachers, and executives understand how they can best support innovation in their own ecosystem. He'll also go over metrics we can use to measure the health of our ecosystems as we build more resources for innovators.

Four Tricky VC Questions and How To Handle Them

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During the course of a fundraise, founders are likely to encounter a few questions from VC’s that seem awkward or even a bit unfair.

Keeping A List, Maybe Two

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There are many traits and habits that successful entrepreneurs, especially repeat ones, display. Most of them are correlated to, but don’t directly cause success. And so they’re typically not necessary, nor sufficient conditions, to being or even becoming an exceptional Founder.

The Shift from FOMO to FOLD in Early Stage Investing

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For the last several years, the early stage investing market was driven largely by the F ear O f M issing O ut, AKA FOMO.

Why NextView Ventures Invested in Carewell

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So many Americans act as caregivers for a loved one. 44 million people spend a substantial amount of their time assisting a chronically ill, disabled, or aging person. Nearly all caregivers are inexperienced family members who lack formal training and aren’t being paid for their help.

Be Like Water – A Guiding Principle for Consumer Product

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“Be formless, shapeless, like water.” – Bruce Lee. I was on a pitch video call the other day when the founder asked me what the guiding principle for product was at Blue Apron when I was leading the team there, and my response was that consumer product experience should be like water. At a first glance, that could sound pretty counterintuitive – isn’t the point of a product team to purposefully design and build? .

What’s the Deal with Seed Funds Waiting for Traction?

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I sent a tweet out last week that elicited quite a few responses from both founders and investors: seed funds that don’t invest pre-traction =. — Rob Go (@robgo) November 4, 2019. I could hear the internet nodding in violent agreement. I thought I’d share a few additional thoughts on what may be driving this. First – there are a lot of seed investors out there that don’t actually want to invest in seed. What they really want to do is be a venture capitalist.

Foodtech Trends That Are Here to Stay

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Advances in technology and changing consumer preferences have long been transforming the way food is created, distributed, and consumed. Now, as COVID-19 revolutionizes much of what was “normal” before March, several trends in foodtech are experiencing tailwinds.

Traction Creates Opportunity

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One phrase that I often say is that “traction creates opportunity”. We were talking about this today and realized that I’ve never written a blog post on the topic, although I’ve said it countless times over the years. So here we go. Early stage companies often debate what they ought to be prioritizing in the early days. Do you focus on team? Do you focus on learning? Do you try to grow as fast as possible? Early stage investors ask themselves a similar question.

Fundraising When You?ve Been at it a While

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Fundraising for startups is a mix of selling both promise and reality. In some respects, one of the often non-intuitive privileges of a seed stage fundraising process is that the company is so new. There isn’t much history, much reality, to get in the way of a good story. So a lot of Founders can weave a tale of the promise of what could be created rather than what has been created.

The Midas List Then and Now

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In a few months, we are likely to see the annual Forbes Midas list of top performing early stage VC investors. There is always some debate about the methodology and accuracy of the list, but I think it’s a pretty interesting data set that reflects some of the things that have been happening in tech and VC over time.

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How is the VC Asset Class Doing?

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One of my more popular posts in recent years was a long write-up on how VC’s get measured. It occurred to me that about 2 years has transpired since that original post and I thought I’d write a follow-up.

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Meet Summer: Our Portfolio Company Changing The Student Loan Landscape

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Student loan is a generational crisis – there are 45 million borrowers in the U.S. on the hook for $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, tripled in the last 10 years. When we think about money in the context of everyday living for the next generation of consumers, it’s impossible to ignore the weight of the student loan burden. . Unlike many other aspects of personal finance, student loan is incredibly complex.

The Due Diligence Hierarchy of Pain

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When a founder is raising money, he/she should expect that any serious investor will conduct some level of due diligence before getting to yes. This could look somewhat different depending on the maturity of the business. Seed stage companies will mostly face questions around the team and market. More mature companies will have to answer more detailed questions around their tech, product, and business.

How Covid-19 Has Impacted VC Portfolios

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One topic of conversation among VC’s over the last few months is how their portfolios are faring during the Covid pandemic. It occurred to me that the message I’m hearing has been pretty consistent but perhaps non-obvious to those outside of the industry. So I thought I’d share my observations, informed by what’s going on in our portfolio and from what I can gather from others in the ecosystem. Vintage year differences.

Which Markets Are the Most And Least Served by Seed Investors?

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About a year ago, my partner David Beisel talked about how seed fundraising is no longer a local game , and that the best entrepreneurs seek out the best investors for them outside of their home market.

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Our Voting System at NextView (aka How We Make Decisions)

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As summer moves into fall there is always a surge in new investment activity. This year will likely be even more pronounced since many companies delayed seeking funding during the beginning of the pandemic, and are now thinking about approaching investors. During this time, founders are often confused about the opaque world of decision-making within VC firms. I thought I’d share a piece of NextView’s decision-making criteria – our voting system.

Why We Invested in Jumbo

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After operating quietly for the past year, our portfolio company Jumbo made a couple big announcements yesterday, including the launch of Jumbo 2 as well as their $8M series A financing led by Balderton Capital. We were proud to be investors in Jumbo pre-product and to be working once again with Pierre Valade, one of the founders of NextView I portfolio company Sunrise.

Pitching in the Pandemic

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We’re in a global pandemic. The simple truth is that all venture capitalists have told their portfolio Founder/CEOs that if they don’t absolutely need to raise capital now that they shouldn’t be out there attempting to do so. Wait until fall. Wait until 2021. Wait until the situation changes. So why should you follow a different approach?

Sharp Elbows Among Seed VCs

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Many of us in the seed stage ecosystem have noticed a shift in the way seed rounds are coming together. Historically, seed rounds were syndicated among several different firms. Early seed funds and super-angels typically wrote $250-$500K checks, and rounds of $2–3M would be composed of 3–4 funds collaborating together along with a handful of angels. These funds would regularly share deal flow with one another and could share the work in supporting founders and helping to push the company forward.

Pre-Seed Rounds Aren’t Going Away, But Pre-Seed Funds Are

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Over the past few years, “pre-seed” as a distinct category has emerged within the early stage fundraising landscape. To some degree the best way to describe a pre-seed round is that you know it when you see it, as the definition is squishy… but most pre-seed rounds are characterized as relatively small ($750K or less), early in company formation (pre-product), and typically followed by a larger “seed” round ($1M-$3M) within 12 months.

An Explorer’s Mind

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I’ve been using the phrase “an explorer’s mind” quite a bit recently to describe the kind of person we are hoping to recruit to join our team at NextView. This idea came up frequently as my partners and I were reflecting on our own personalities and what we thought would be important attributes of a young investor. To us, an explorer’s mind is one that: Is curious about things beyond the horizon. They’re looking for the future and wants to investigate the unknown.

Why We Invested in Marlo

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Meetings can suck. I know that you’ve been there. Stuck in a meeting which wasn’t productive. Not for you, and not for many (or even all) of the participants. Sometimes it’s a standing small-group meeting, an obligatory gathering that’s on everyone’s work calendar merely intended for reporting and not actually deciding. Sometimes it’s an all-hands-on-deck meeting requiring a large group to attend, but what’s going to be discussed isn’t relevant for everyone.

NextView Partners Discuss the State of the Market In a Covid-19 World

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Last week we held a virtual “Lunch and Learn” with Melody and Lee where they had a discussion about what they’re seeing in the market in a covid-19 world, made some predictions about where we are headed in the next couple of weeks to months, and took some questions about the state of VC funding.

Building the Best Seed VC Syndicate in 2020: Navigating “Leaders” & “Fillers”

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In previous blog posts I’ve written about the two main approaches to building a seed round syndicate – the subscription method (where an entrepreneur presets a structure with a convertible note or SAFE and recruits investors who subscribe to the round, all without a term-driving lead investor) and a term-driving lead investor approach.

Repeat Founders and the Risk of a False Positive

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A number of blog posts recently have mentioned this, but we seem to be experiencing a rise in repeat founders starting new businesses and raising seed capital. We’re also seeing a wave of folks who were not founders, but were star players among the first 25 folks at a unicorn company also starting new companies. As a founder with that kind of experience, you are likely to find that a lot of the typical advice for startups on the internet isn’t quite applicable.

Why We Invested in Opus

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Today, one of our most recent portfolio companies, Opus , announced its rebrand as well as their $2M seed round. At NextView, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about various personas of the Everyday Worker, and we have always felt that there is an opportunity to leverage technology to broaden access for mass market workers. Companies from supply chain to manufacturing to services employ over 110 million frontline workers in the U.S.,

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Remote Employee

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Throughout human history, our working environments have gone through several huge shifts. From hunters and gatherers to farmers and traders, from farmers to industry factory workers, and from factory workers to the modern day office employee. Today, we are starting to see the next big shift in our type of work environments. With the click of a button, you can be face to face with someone across the globe and that’s impacting how we work with each other.

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Advice For Managing Remote Teams

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Remote work has been a topic of discussion for many businesses in recent years, but little did we know that we were about to put all our hypotheses and reservations to the test. Since social distancing orders have been put in place, a huge portion of our workforce has transformed their homes into workplaces and are trying their best to manage this new work environment. This is also a huge adjustment for those managers who are used to managing in person teams.

20/20/20 – Harley Earl: Design Icon, Seer of Our Autonomous Vehicle Future

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Over the course of 2020, we are highlighting 20 innovators and entrepreneurs from the 20th century whose work continues to shape our everyday lives in the 21st century. . Unless you are a student of design or an aficionado of cars, you may not know the name Harley Earl.

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Are MBA Founders More Diverse?

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Original research on gender diversity and fundraising amongst HBS founders. Historically, there has been a general bias against MBA founders — a skepticism around their grit and hustle. The taboo has largely faded, though, as many MBA-founded startups have bubbled to the top, and we at NextView even validated that there is no conflict between attending business school and founding a company with a previous blog post about Harvard MBA founders.

Doing Due Diligence on Potential Investors

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One of the often neglected parts of fundraising is the process of doing due diligence on potential investors. Raising money is super hard. But assuming success, a moment will come when a founder will have multiple funding options. Partnering with an investor and/or board member is very long term commitment, and I’m always surprised by how little diligence founders do prior to signing up for what could be a 10+ year collaboration.

How Decisions Are Made After The Partner Meeting

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In general, VC decision-making can feel like a black box, which can be frustrating for founders who are trying to manage their fundraising process and timeline. It usually involves many meetings over the course of weeks (if not months) with various members of the firm, and the process can look quite different from one firm to another. Regardless, your singular goal is typically to drive towards a “Partner Meeting” where you can pitch the story and vision to the entire investment team.

Raising a Series A Away From Home

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This is a post about raising a Series A from an investor that is not based in your home city. Let me preface this by saying that if all things were equal, you would probably prefer to have a local series A investor. Proximity helps, and you are more likely to get more time and attention from a series A investor that is in nearby. But, all things are not equal for many reasons. There may be many fewer series A investors in your home market than elsewhere.

Why Is There So Much Turnover In Venture Capital?

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“I have exciting personal news.”. “I’m I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining [New Firm] as a Partner where I will continue to invest in great Founders across the industries I care about.”. “I I am pursuing an idea that I’m excited about and and happy to be back on the entrepreneurial path.”. These are literal quotes from social media and email announcements over the past six months from VC Partners moving on to other competitive firms, and, well, just moving on.

How We are Investing Through The Covid Correction

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In a period of uncertainty, the easiest thing to do as a VC is to be paralyzed by fear and do nothing. We can stay busy by expending time and effort supporting the existing portfolio, which is the right thing to do and a good use of time. But when it comes to new investments, the path of least resistance is to hang back and see how things play out. Wait and see. As I blogged about a few weeks ago, FOMO ( F ear O f M issing O ut) is replaced by FOLD (Fear Of Looking Dumb).

Why We Invested in Monument

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Today, Monument announced the launch of their virtual programs for people looking to change their relationship with alcohol. You can read more about the company here and see their segment on GMA from a few weeks ago here. Our mantra at NextView is to “ design the future we want to live in ”. That is particularly true in the case of Monument. Alcohol abuse is an enormous societal problem with far reaching economic consequences.

Pitch Deck Month: The “Ask” Slide

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*This post is part of our “pitch deck” series where we dissect the seed stage pitch deck and discuss the ideal flow for a pitch. You can read the rest of the posts in the series by clicking here *. Here we are, at (one of) the final slides. The reason that you’re crafting the pitch deck, after all, is to raise funds. The closing slide of a pitch deck’s main section should be explicit about the ask. What do you want?

Denouement

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Like many things in life, the VC/startup ecosystem is one of cycles. Looking back over the last decade it’s remarkable to see how the emphasis has shifted across cycles and what the overarching narrative was.

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