View from Seed

Why LP’s Passed on Seed Funds 10 Years Ago (And What’s Happened Since)

View from Seed

This year will mark the 10 th year anniversary of NextView. I’ll be writing a number of posts looking back over the first decade of the life of this firm. In some ways, this feels like an eternity.

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Sizing the Ask

View from Seed

One important tactical decision when fundraising is determining the size of “the ask”. Sizing the ask incorrectly is one of the things I see founders get wrong most often, and it ends up having a meaningful impact to the fundraising process overall.

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Airbnb S-1 (Part 1): So How Profitable Is This Thing Really?

View from Seed

Airbnb’s public S-1 dropped Monday afternoon. One of the most highly anticipated startup IPOs of recent years, we now get a peek inside Airbnb’s business.

How Venture Capital Decision Making Has Changed During the Pandemic

View from Seed

The sudden arrival of the global pandemic has shifted the playbook for founders and venture capitalists. Despite the beginnings of a vaccine rollout, it’s likely that the conditions created by Covid-19 will continue to persist for some time.

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.

Mercenaries, Missionaries, and Crusaders

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I’ve had the privilege to work with many great entrepreneurs, both in my operating days at the start of my career and over the last decade plus on the VC investing side. In my experience founders usually fall into one of three types: mercenaries, missionaries, and crusaders.

What Do My Partners REALLY Care About When You Pitch Them?

View from Seed

When a company is pitching a VC, there is typically one partner who is the advocate for the deal and is shepherding the process. This usually involves one or multiple meetings with the broad investment team, which culminates in a final decision. Although all VC’s tend to consider similar attributes about a potential investment, we each have certain biases or pet areas that we tend to hone-in on.

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

View from Seed

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.

Announcing NextView’s Everyday Economy Accelerator

View from Seed

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). Even though some of the most transformative tech companies are built during difficult economic periods, the aperture of VC funds tends to narrow during these times.

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A Journalist’s Perspective on How to Earn Press for Your Company

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Most founders know the value of publicity, but earning press can be a massive headache. The media world is notoriously difficult to navigate from the outside, and working with PR agencies can be even more of a black box.

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Traction Creates Opportunity

View from Seed

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.

NextView’s Early Stage Startup Guide: Product

View from Seed

Welcome to the first installment of the NextView Ventures Early Stage Startup Guides. Over the years, we’ve worked with, and talked to thousands of founders just starting out.

Drive the Meeting

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One thing I strongly believe is that founders should drive the agenda of a fundraising meeting. This is something that is easy to do, but only happens a minority of the time. What does it mean to not drive the meeting?

What Do Your Customers Want to Buy?

View from Seed

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.

Thoughts on Repeat Founders

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Since the inception of NextView, we’ve had a reasonably even distribution between backing first time founders and founders who had started a company with success in the past.

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

View from Seed

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.

Be Like Water – A Guiding Principle for Consumer Product

View from Seed

“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? .

Keeping A List, Maybe Two

View from Seed

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.

Four Tricky VC Questions and How To Handle Them

View from Seed

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. These are questions that usually don’t have anything to do with the business itself, but center around the dynamics of the round or maybe the motivations of the founders. Below are the most common flavors of these questions. For each, I’ll share some commentary on what investors are trying to uncover and talk how to handle them. Where are you in your process?

Welcoming Leah Fessler to the NextView Team

View from Seed

We are pleased to announce that Leah Fessler has joined the investment team at NextView based in our New York office. . For those of you who don’t know Leah, her career has spanned across journalism, operating at early-stage startups, venture investing, and hedge fund management. Leah joins us from Chief, the private network for executive women, where she joined as an early employee and led editorial and brand voice.

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

View from Seed

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.

Why NextView Ventures Invested in Carewell

View from Seed

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.

Meet Summer: Our Portfolio Company Changing The Student Loan Landscape

View from Seed

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 Shift from FOMO to FOLD in Early Stage Investing

View from Seed

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. This led to a number of repercussions that most VC’s have lamented during this time, including higher prices, larger rounds, shoddy due diligence, and many companies raising large sums of venture capital that probably aren’t suited to VC funding.

The Midas List Then and Now

View from Seed

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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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.

We’re Hiring for Our Investment Team at NextView’s NYC Office

View from Seed

Since we first opened our New York office back in 2015, we have steadily increased our presence over the years ( Melody joined us in 2017 and Dorothy in 2018), and now roughly 40% of our investments are in New York. We continue to believe that NYC is very underserved by seed investors who can lead with high conviction, and we are excited to double down our presence in New York by adding a new senior associate investment professional to our team. . Who Are We Looking For.

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The Due Diligence Hierarchy of Pain

View from Seed

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.

Foodtech Trends That Are Here to Stay

View from Seed

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. We can’t dine at restaurants, so we’re cooking and ordering takeout and delivery more frequently.

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

View from Seed

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.

Sharp Elbows Among Seed VCs

View from Seed

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.

Why We Invested in Jumbo

View from Seed

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.

How Covid-19 Has Impacted VC Portfolios

View from Seed

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.

Why We Invested in Marlo

View from Seed

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.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Remote Employee

View from Seed

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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Pitching in the Pandemic

View from Seed

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?

Repeat Founders and the Risk of a False Positive

View from Seed

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.

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.

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

View from Seed

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.

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.

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.

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.