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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

Friday Fun-isms: “Avoid Swiss Army Knives”

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An inevitable question that founders face is “how is your product different?” Whether it’s asked explicitly or not, most investors that you speak to have probably seen or heard of a company that does something pretty similar to yours.

The Road Less Traveled: Non-Standard Early Stage Funding Paths

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As the seed stage that atomized and series A rounds have become larger and more traction based, the paths to series A have changed. The baseline path to series A has tends to look something like this: Raise $0?—?$500K

Friday Funism: JDCC

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Like other investors, we at NextView have a number of frameworks which we use to evaluate decisions on making new investments. All early stage venture firms essentially look at some weighting of team, market, product, and traction.

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Friday Funism – Fear vs Greed

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Actions always speak louder than words. And if you can glean the motivations behind those actions, it can tell you even more about situation. One of the questions which we often ask out loud at NextView is if a person or firm is motivated by “fear or greed?” The context for this assessment is typically around a fundraising event – the approach, when it should occur, and who is participating, etc.

Friday Funism – “Authentic Company” & “Sophomore Slump” (2 for 1 Special)

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It’s a 2 for 1 day today at Friday Fun-isms. Both are phrases that often come up, but often together. The first is the idea of an authentic company. Before we start any pitch, we try to uncover what the underlying motivation was behind the business. More often than not, the companies that get us the most excited are ones where the founder has some strong, deep rooted connection to the customer problem.

Why Do Consumer IPOs and B2B IPOs Get Treated Differently?

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2019 is off to an exciting start for IPOs of VC-backed startups. In just the last month or so we’ve seen Lyft go public ( my analysis of the company’s S-1 here ) and more recently, Zoom and Pinterest. Zoom is a B2B company Pinterest and Lyft are obviously B2C companies.

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Slack S-1: Will ARPU Drive Long Term Value?

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Slack dropped their S-1 a couple weeks ago. Even before that, we all knew that it was among the most rapidly growing SaaS companies in recent years and a product used (and loved) by millions of people. But now we have a chance to really dig in and understand Slack’s business a bit better.

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Building the Best Seed Syndicates

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As I like to say, fundraising tends to move slow until it moves fast. It feels like a bit of a grind in the early and mid stages of a process, but in a successful fundraise, things tend to heat up at the end and move at a breakneck pace once you drive towards final allocations and a close. At this point, founders find themselves in a luxurious situation of being able to build the best possible syndicate.

Friday Fun-ism: Defying Gravity

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As you might suspect, we talk a lot about entrepreneurs around the NextView offices, which bring us to this week’s installment of our Friday Fun-ism series.

Friday Funism – Favorite Future

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Another phrase we use internally at NextView pretty often is that of a “favorite future”. Early in NextView’s history, when we were raising our first fund (e.g. sometime back in 2010 or early 2011) one of the limited partners we met with asked us what our “favorite future” was for NextView. We were excited to talk about our vision and aspirations for the new VC firm we were building, but also intrigued by this as a general question.

Reflecting On Parenthood & Entrepreneurship

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*Disclaimer – although the above baby is very cute, I can’t take credit for making him*. When my husband and I welcomed our newborn son to the world this April, it was probably the most exciting and magical moments we have ever experienced. Thanks to my very supportive partners at NextView, I was able to focus on being a new parent and enjoying those early moments during my maternity leave.

Friday Fun-ism: “Time Kills All Deals”

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This week’s Friday Fun-ism goes hand-in-hand with a previous, “ It moves slow until it moves fast.” The venture fundraising process for founders has a certain rhythm to it, and so a lot can be read into the timing and pacing of the conversations.

A Conversation with 2020 Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang

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Exploring The Everyday is an interview series exploring interesting individuals or companies who are trying to make an impact on the lives of everyday people. You can learn more about this series here. Universal Basic Income is a hot dinner party topic around the country right now.

Nobody Announces Their Seed Round Anymore and That’s a Mistake

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Five years ago, as the mania around seed fundings was accelerating, Founders were very eager to announce their seed round to the world. It marks the beginning of the journey with hard work & the real business success to be accomplished ahead, but a milestone nonetheless.

Friday Fun-ism: “Smiling Killer”

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One of my favorite descriptions we use half in jest is that a founder seems like a “smiling killer” This is a compliment, I promise. This means that the founder strikes a very delicate balance that is very hard to pull off. First, the founder just seems like a great person. She is kind, charismatic, engaging, and seems genuinely great to work with. These are super valuable skills because the job of the CEO is largely about working with people.

Back to The Future: Power of SMS-Native

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It is the one message-space on your phone that you always pay attention to: SMS text messages. Not just “messaging” broadly, as there are numerous apps where people send and receive communications & messages.

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Advice On How To Make Your First Analytics Hire

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Recently, I’ve been working with a few of our portfolio companies to help them think about how to recruit and interview their first analytics hire.

How to tell the difference between a good interviewer and a good hire

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The last thing you want to do is go through all the time and energy of finding and hiring a new employee only to find out, after you’ve extended the offer, that they’re not a good fit. It happens all of the time.

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Introducing NextView III and Our Focus on the Everyday Economy

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What will the future hold? It’s a question every VC asks themselves and the entrepreneurs they invest in. Some conclude that certain sectors or technologies — like AI, blockchain, VR — will define the next decade.

Introducing the Hitchhiker’s Guide to New York City Tech

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New York City is a dream but can also be a navigational nightmare, equal parts crammed circus and rat race mixed at warp speed. This holds for the city’s tech sector. NYC Tech is bursting at the seams with nightly networking events at floors and floors of co-working spaces.

Friday Fun-isms: I’ve Seen This Movie Before

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NextView Ventures has been around now for nearly a decade, having invested in over eighty seed stage companies along the way. On top of that, all four partners here spent meaningful time at other venture firms previously in our careers. So as a result, collectively we’ve been intimately involved with hundreds of startups and nearly a thousand financings (including follow-ons).

Friday Fun-isms: Handoffs

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Given our high-conviction, hands-on strategy and NextView, we tend to take an approach where each one of our investments has a very clear lead partner within the firm. This is the person who ends up being the primary point of contact for a founder and is the one that drives the majority of the due diligence and day to day management of the investment. This is pretty typical for many institutional funds.

Our Investment in Otis

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On Tuesday, one of our most recent portfolio companies, Otis, came out of stealth and announced its public launch. Otis is founded by Michael Karnjanaprakorn, and is focused on creating a marketplace that enables fractional ownership of culturally relevant assets. That sentence is quite a mouthful :), so I wanted to share a bit more about why we were excited by the team and concept and were the first investors to join them on this journey.

Home Is Where the Innovation Is

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If a man from 1987 stepped into a time machine and emerged in 2017, he would find the modern world fantastically different in many ways. Mobile computing means that he has the world’s information and entertainment at his literal fingertips.

Meet Our Newest Investment: Properly

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A home is arguably the most important asset both financially and emotionally for a family. As a result, the unnecessarily complex and manual process one experiences today with traditional real estate brokers and agents can cause selling that home to be an emotional and stressful experience.

Lyft S-1: Kicking Off the Decacorn Bonanza of 2019

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Lyft’s S-1 dropped on Friday. 2019 is shaping up to be the year the dam broke for decacorn IPOs, with Lyft, Uber, AirBnB, Pinterest, et al in the queue. I’ve been looking thru S-1s for many years, out of intellectual curiosity to better understand how remarkable businesses work.

How Much Traction Do I Need to Raise from Seed VCs?

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A couple weeks ago, my partner Rob penned a blog post about the “shape of traction” which really resonated with a number of folks. The quick summary is that the shape of a startup’s traction (with time/product-quality on the x axis and traction on the y axis) and isn’t at all a linear path.

Exploring The Everyday: Janji Wants You To Change The World By Running

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Exploring The Everyday is an interview series exploring interesting individuals or companies who are trying to make an impact on the lives of everyday people. You can learn more about this series here , or read our past interviews here.

After Organic – The Next Multi-Decade Food Megatrend

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We are entering a really interesting phase in the food industry that I think most people don’t fully realize. For the last 20+ years, the dominant trend among grocers, restaurants, packaged food and beverage companies and others have been a market shift towards natural and organic products.

How to Build a Great Product Before Hiring Your First PM

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Most startups don’t have the luxury of hiring an experienced PM early in their journey. Many founders have to turn to brute force to figure it out, even when they themselves don’t have practitioner product management experience.

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The VC Meeting Map: What to Expect After a Successful First Pitch

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Nearly all of the guidance for meetings with VCs is centered on the very first meeting: how to get it, how to prepare a pitch deck , how to run the meeting , etc. But then the tactical advice stops. What about the rest of the VC fundraising process?

Mattermark’s Clever Origin Story and Why Their CEO Loves Arguing with VCs [Traction #11]

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The NextView podcast Traction explores all the clever, creative, and atypical things entrepreneurs do to make initial progress against the odds. If startups should do things that “don’t scale,” then this podcast asks a simple question: What ARE those things?

City Made: Why NYC Is A Great Place To Be An Entrepreneur

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New York City is a tremendous place to be an entrepreneur.

Exploring The Everyday: Better Meat For a Better Future

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Exploring The Everyday is an interview series exploring interesting individuals or companies who are trying to make an impact on the lives of everyday people. You can learn more about this series here , or read our past interviews here.

Why We Invested in The Nudge

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Sometimes we just need little push to take action. A little motivation to make things happen. And having a plan already put together makes things just that much easier. Yep, sometimes all you need is just little a nudge. Enter just that, The Nudge. It’s a “planner friend in your pocket,” as the team calls it. A personal digital lifestyle advisor which sends SMS-based ideas about things to do (with a link to an detailed entire plan to make it easier to follow through).

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Playing Startup

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I’ve observed what may be an emerging trend, at least in some startups, that I find somewhat unsettling. It has an impact at an individual level, a company level, and an ecosystem level.

Startup Competition Slides: A Common Red Flag in Pitches

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Guess what is often the worst slide in an investor pitch deck ? For me, it’s the competition slide. At best, it’s a list of competitors plotted in some 2×2 or Harvey-ball chart that isn’t terribly helpful. At worst, it’s hurtful.

“Seed Is the New Series A” – Making Sense of the Confusion

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A few weeks ago, Manu Kumar wrote an excellent post detailing the current state of the seed financing landscape. Read it – it’s excellent. I agree with most of the things that Manu wrote, and I’ve been thinking about the topic quite a bit over the last several days.