Bringing design thinking to early stage investment

The Equity Kicker

Beyond highlighting areas that need fixing this framework is useful tool to make sure we are doing as well as we can across all aspects of our product design.

Lessons Learned: Don't launch

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Friday, March 13, 2009 Dont launch Heres a common question I get from startups, especially in the early stages: when should we launch? This is the usual reason given for a marketing launch, but for most early stage startups, its a failure. If you dont know who the partners are, what they pay attention to, or what kind of message they are open to receiving - its too early to launch.

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Trending Sources

Startup Blog: Presentation 101 ? Please do not do this!

Taffy Williams

I often have the opportunity to listen to first time entrepreneurs and early stage companies present their company. The mix of entrepreneurial reviewers is useful in providing advice and feedback to early stage entrepreneurs and their startup.

Seeing Through The Fog

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

I was talking to my friend Simon yesterday and he observed that the essential skill of entrepreneurs and early stage VCs is to “be able to see through the fog of an emerging market and pick out the winning idea.” That framework helps me see through the fog. Getting your hands dirty by using the technology as early as you can will you help to see through the fog.

How Investors Make Better Decisions: The Investment Readiness Level

Steve Blank

While the posts were theory I was a bit surprised when John Selep , an early-stage investor, approached me and said he was actually using the Investment Readiness Level (IRL) in practice. The Investment Readiness Level makes the stages of development for the business very tangible.

Technical Advisors: Every Web/Mobile Startup Must Have One


And it made me come to a new realization: Every early-stage web/mobile/online startup should have at least one technical advisor, probably two. Most early-stage, in-house teams needs to be hands on developers, not strategic.

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How great VCs add value

The Equity Kicker

Our startup team are often the first team members for our idea stage companies (albeit part-time), and then after a month or two of working faster because of our support they typically start recruiting their own full time team members.

10 Startup Practices That Usually Lead To Disaster

Startup Professionals Musings

As an entrepreneur, you need to start early to implement the discipline and business practices that will lead to success. Even though everyone has an opinion on good early stage practices, I was impressed with the actionable blueprint in a recent book by Scott Duffy, “ Launch!

Digitisation, productivity growth and opportunity areas

The Equity Kicker

Secondly it gives a framework for thinking about our investment strategy. They are just starting to digitise, which feels like a good place for an early stage VC like Forward Partners to be investing.

10 Ways To Lose Your First Million As An Entrepreneur

Startup Professionals Musings

As an entrepreneur, you need to start early to implement the discipline and business practices that will lead to success. Even though everyone has an opinion on good early stage practices, I was impressed with the actionable blueprint in a new book by Scott Duffy, “ Launch!

Why We Spend So Much Time On Policy Stuff

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

We make a lot of early stage investments and we work hard with those companies to help them succeed. That is a good example of what happens when networks and the data they produce reshape a market that has been operating in a traditional framework. Last month I wrote a post mentioning that we have an activist in residence at USV. And I write a lot here at AVC about the policy stuff we have been working on.

Equity Comp in Turnarounds and Consolidations

Ask The VC

The What & Why of Hiring a Great Startup COO

View from Seed

For most of my career, I’ve served startups and early-stage companies as an operating executive or advisor. The savvier founders recognize early what skill sets they lack and the criticality of these skills towards ensuring success.

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Angel Funding Framework - some additional viewpoints


One of the big challenges is the lack of availability of early stage funding from angel investor groups. But in my opinion, the absence of a sound angel investment framework/structure relevant for Indian conditions might be the underlying problem. One, there has been a shift in investor mindset across venture stages. VCs have moved up and very few play in seed stage funding and angel investor groups of yesterday are the new seed investors.

10 ways you’ll probably f**k up your startup — Spook Studio — Medium

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle framework “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” Simon Sinek If your customers believe in your mission, then they’ll warm to you and listen to what you offer and how. There’s no harm in asking for help early on, but too few do.

Journeymen, Mavericks & Superstars: Understanding Salespeople at Startups

Both Sides of the Table

Very few of them are started, in my experience, by sales people and very few early stage companies really understand sales. a) they don’t tend to make great heads of sales departments and b) they aren’t the people you want early in your company.

How a Seed VC Approaches Pre-Product Startups

View from Seed

We have a bias towards very early stage investing for a bunch of reasons, but it’s not easy. It’s often a good idea for founders to find a way to build something and get some early market validation before raising outside capital.

How the Seed-Stage VC Trend Began, The Downsides of Unicorns & Much More

Both Sides of the Table

*. If you are a 20-something tech entrepreneur you could be forgiven for thinking that seed-stage investors, Angellist Syndicates and widely available angel money always existed. Some quick highlights include: The Role of a Seed Stage VC.

3 Key Startup Questions

Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur

The early stages of business, are the most challenging of times, times that need to be overcome. Inadequate validation of any form during the initial stages, results in a slew of products or services for which there is no demand.

Lean Innovation Management – Making Corporate Innovation Work

Steve Blank

The first time a few brave corporate innovators tried to overlay the Lean tools and techniques that work in early-stage startups in an existing corporation, the result was chaos, confusion, frustration and ultimately, failure. I’ve been working with large companies and the U.S.

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A Question About Risk That Founders Forget to Ask VCs

Hunter Walker

At the early stages, EVERY company still has significant risks associated with it. we think we bring an edge in understanding the consumer and what will resonate with them” [hunter note: borne out by her early investments in Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker and others!]. ” [hunter note: Leave it to the Series A investor to be the most “framework-oriented” of the three I asked

How to simplify complex decisions by cleaving the facts

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

Nevertheless, this example demonstrates that, even in the absence of data (which is frequently the case, especially with early-stage startups), this technique helps us arrive at a clear and sensible decision.

Working with Developers


I’m a long way into development and I’m 90% done and we are having issues getting it completed See Symptoms of a Weak Development Team and Poor Software Developers - Pull the Plug Early.

Lead Developer to CTO at a Startup


This leads to a set of questions: What is the role of a CTO in the early stages of a company, and does that role change later on as both the company and that individual matures? I've previously addressed the role of a CTO in early-stages in my post Startup CTO or Developer. What existing systems will we leverage, what programming languages, software development methodologies, web application frameworks, revision control systems, etc.?

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Find Your Sweet Spot To Excel As An Entrepreneur

Startup Professionals Musings

I just finished a new book, “ The Purpose Effect ,” by renowned author Dan Pontefract, that provides a good framework and background or doing just that. In the difficult early stages of any business, it can also seem like you are leaving some things for others that should be in your pocket.

Lean Startup and Lean Analytics in the Enterprise

Instigator Blog

There’s still a lot to learn amongst early stage entrepreneurs, and a lot of discussion that’s needed around implementing Lean Startup, but attention has definitely shifted to applying the framework in large organizations. It’s clear that Lean Startup is shifting from startups to the enterprise.

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Blowing up the Business Plan at U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School

Steve Blank

Over my career as a serial entrepreneur I observed that since the late 1990s, no early-stage Silicon Valley investor had used business plans to screen investments. To create great entrepreneurs, we had to give our students the experience of navigating the chaos and uncertainty of running a lean startup while providing the same kind of rigorous framework the business plan did in its day. Early-stage investors don’t read business plans.

Startup CTO or Developer


I’ve been having discussions with several people recently about the role of the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) in very early stage companies. However, I’ve now begun questioning how and what an early-stage / startup CTO should be. It makes this early stage challenging.

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7 Ways To Future Proof Your Brand In 2016 And Beyond (And A Bonus)


Using the cycle of failure framework, described by Schlesinger and Heskett (1991) for service marketing, here’s my take on how it looks for brand/content marketing: Disengaged employees will not help your brand. There are old brand ads that we still love.

Taking Corporate VC: When It Makes Sense

View from Seed

I was an early employee at PayPal and back in the 2000-2001 timeframe, and we ended up taking a fairly significant amount of strategic investment (tens of millions of $) from various banks in the US, Europe, and Asia.

How companies strangle innovation – and how you can get it right

Steve Blank

A key concept of prioritization across all horizons is that this ranking is not done by a remote committee, but by the innovation teams themselves as an early step in their discovery process. A shorter version of this post first appeared on the HBR blog.

It’s Time to Play Moneyball: The Investment Readiness Level

Steve Blank

A Lean Startup methodology offers entrepreneurs a framework to focus on what’s important: Business Model Discovery.

How to think about cash vs. equity compensation

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

Here’s a simple framework for how to come up with those numbers. Investors in early-stage startups need large potential returns to compensate for the fact that most of those investments will never return.

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Full-Stack Analytics: The Next Wave of Opportunity in Big Data

Hazard Lights

The lens through which I make these observations is from our role as a seed and early stage venture capital investor, which means we are looking at where market opportunities will develop over the next 3-5 years, not necessarily where the market is today.

Free Startup Docs: How Much Equity Should Advisors Get?

It’s an age-old scenario: You’re building a company, you have a product idea, and you’ve got the framework laid out in your head, but you want some expert advice and guidance on how to take the next steps. Startups. Mobile. Gadgets. Europe. Video. Enterprise. Venture. Social.

Venture Innovation, or why the First Round Capital Entrepreneur's.

There is an amazing wealth of innovation around early stage venture financing, most of which developed in just the past few years. Then there are new sources of financing - groups or people that literally didnt exist as early stage financiers just a few years ago: OReilly AlphaTech Ventures , True Ventures , Jeff Clavier , First Round , Ron Conway & Co. skip to main | skip to sidebar. Maximizing the serendipity around you. Jan 30, 2010.

Lessons From Training 1400+ People in Web API Design

Launch Any

In the early stages of API adoption, most APIs solve a specific problem and often begin as a bolt-on solution within an existing application. For the last 2 years, Keith Casey and I have been conducted API training workshops with over 1400 participants across nearly a dozen roles.

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So What is The Right Level of Burn Rate for a Startup These Days?

Both Sides of the Table

This has led VC & entrepreneur bloggers alike to similar conclusions: start raising capital early and be careful about having too high of a burn rate because that lessens the amount of runway you have until you need more cash. It’s a very personal topic and I’d like to offer you a framework to decide for yourself, based on the following factors: How Long is it Taking to Raise Capital at Your Stage in the Market?

Lens For Evaluating Startup Ideas

Force of Good: a blog by Lance Weatherby

During one Merrick explained a venture risk framework that most investors used even though they generally don''t talk about it. The framework included management risk , market risk , product risk , and funding risk. From an early stage investors perspective all startup milestones should be focused on reducing management, market, technology, and funding risk.

SEC Adopts Final Crowdfunding Rules: Is It The Win Everyone Hoped For?

VC Deal Lawyer

I know that many people have held out hope that these new rules would help fill the ever-widening funding gap that exists between formation and scale, a gap that has grown over the years as a result of Series A money trending to later than early stage. Maybe it’s a restaurant that needs $150,000 to launch and believes it has a clear path to positive cash flow to fund the business beyond the crowdfunding stage.