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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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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.

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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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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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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pitch Deck Month: The Team 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 *.

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.

Pitch Deck Month: The “Where Are You Going?” 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 *. So you’ve covered the “who”, “what”, “why”, & “when”. Now it’s time to discuss the “where”.

Pitch Deck Month: The “Can You Be The Best?” 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 *.

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.

20/20/20: Innovators & Entrepreneurs From the 20th Century Who Are Helping Shape the 21st

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Welcome to 2020. I thought about writing a post looking forward into this new decade, or looking back at the prior decade (are we calling it the “teens” officially?). But instead I decided to do something a little different. We’re now 20 years into the 21st century. 1980 and the dawn of the PC era is 40 years ago… the space race kicked off roughly 70 years ago.

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.

Santa As A Service

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I bet many of us are waiting for packages to be delivered around this time of year.

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

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.

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.

Chewy S-1: Category Leadership + Conveyor Belt Into Consumers’ Homes

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Chewy has rapidly grown from a startup to a multi-billion commerce company, establishing itself as the leader in pet e-commerce. Chewy sells tens of thousands of products from many 3rd party brands, as well as its own private label brands (though latter remains <10% of sales).

Being A Pro

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One of the fun books I read last year was “Paper Tiger” by Tom Coyne. I love to play golf, and Tom did what many golfers dream about – he devoted 100% of his life for 2 years to get as good as he possibly can and tried to make it on a pro tour. The book is a light-hearted, enjoyable read. But one thing that stuck out to me was his description of playing in mini-tour events in Florida.

Pitch Deck Month: The “Why Does It Matter?” 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 *.

Pitch Deck Month: “What Do You Do?” 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 *.

Pitch Deck Month: Appendix Slides

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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 *. For many pitch decks, the Appendix section is really an afterthought.

Pitch Deck Month: “Is It Working?” (aka the “Traction” 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 *. By now, you’ve described your team and the high level overview of what your company does.

Building Something vs. Proving Something

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One of the biggest rookie mistakes I see among founders pursuing seed rounds is that they’ve spent too much time building something vs. proving something. Increasingly, seed rounds occur after some sort of pre-seed or at least some period of bootstrapping. During this time, the founding team has probably invested at least some money and a lot of time and energy in moving their company from a concept to something with a bit more meat.

“Peace of Mind” Businesses

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One of my first seed investments was in a company that was looking to disrupt the textbook publishing space. The team was terrific, and the premise was to develop a digital textbook product that was 20x cheaper, better, and more convenient than traditional textbooks. The team brought an amazing product to market but the business just didn’t work. The core mistake we made was misclassifying the kind of business we were building.

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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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.

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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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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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: 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.

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.

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.

Which Fundraising Round Should You Skip?

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As seed rounds have atomized, it’s not uncommon for founders to raise 3 or even 4 rounds prior to a series A. These include angel rounds, pre-seeds, institutional seeds, second seeds, pre-A, etc. The reality is that if a founder raised every one of these rounds, and lead investors always got their “target” ownership, the level of dilution would be ridiculous.

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.

3 Founder Attributes We Look For When Investing

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Recently, Stu Landesberg, the CEO of Grove Collaborative shared the story of the struggle he faced in raising his series A round. You don’t often hear a founder speak so candidly about this (especially before the final chapter is written) so it’s worth a listen. . We were co-lead investors in Grove’s seed round and actually doubled down in an intermediate round prior to this challenging series A process.

Friday Funism – “Doable Deal”

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One of the key conversations that happens during NextView’s evaluation of an investment is the “debrief” after the partner meeting , where the entire partnership gets the opportunity to interact with the founding team and dive deeper into the business. . During the debrief, we would discuss not only aspects of the company (i.e. team, market, product, stage/traction) but also the potential deal itself (i.e. how much the company is raising, valuation expectations, round/syndicate dynamics, etc.).

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.

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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