October, 2012

How to Get a VC Meeting – the flowchart

Steve Blank

I often get asked, “how do I get a meeting with a VC?” ” Here is my slightly tongue-in-cheek view. Filed under: Customer Development , Venture Capital. Customer Development Venture Capital

The rise of the “successful” unsustainable company

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

It’s appalling what passes for “successful entrepreneurship” in the press or the Valley, but it’s not their fault.

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Trending Sources

The Two or Three Things You Need to Raise Capital

Instigator Blog

Yesterday I chatted with an entrepreneur that was looking for advice on raising capital. I’ve written quite a bit about fundraising in the past, but it’s a hard topic and a challenging thing for people to get through. Most people have never raised funding before, and even with all the advice out there it’s still a scary, black hole.

If You Can’t Explain What You Do In A Paragraph, You’ve Got A Problem

Feld Thoughts

Here’s an email exchange that I had in the past 24 hours with an entrepreneur. Remember, I try to answer all of my emails and be responsive to any inquiry – this was a random one (which I get between 25 and 100 a day). Entrepreneur: I just wanted to touch base with you and see if you are taking on new startups right now. Me: Can you send me a paragraph and I’ll tell you if it’s something we’d be interested in.

Stealth Mode Entrepreneurs Only Increase the Risk


Image via Facebook.com. Every time I hear about a new startup that is in stealth mode, I wonder what problem they are hiding from whom.

More Trending

What Goes Wrong

Founders at Work - Blog

This is my talk from 2012 Startup School, pretty much exactly as delivered. It's been more than 7 years since we started YC. In that time, we've funded 467 startups so I've seen a lot of patterns.

Play Offense When Predicting Revenue

Feld Thoughts

I got an email today from an exec at a company who I was with at a recent board meeting. I thought it was a powerful summary of part of our discussion, specifically around the sales pipeline for Q4 and overall sales execution. I’ve been in something like 91,293 pipeline reviews in my life and it continues to baffle me that experienced sales execs manage to snow the CEO and the board with “probability weighted sales pipeline.”

2012 Valuation Survey of Angel Groups


This summer I conducted our third annual survey of the pre-money valuation of pre-revenue companies recently funded by angel groups in North America. Access to our 2010 and 2011 surveys can be found at 2011 Valuation Survey of North American Angel Investor Groups. We received data from thirty groups of the fifty angel groups from whom we requested data. For the first time, we asked for data from specific business sectors, as follows: All pre-revenue deals.

10 Tips to the Simplest But Effective Business Plan

Startup Professionals Musings

If you want people to invest in your idea, then my best advice is first write a business plan, and keep it simple. Don't confuse your business plan with a doctoral thesis or the back of a napkin. Keep the wording and formatting straightforward, and keep the plan short.

10,000 Startups – Startup Weekend Next

Steve Blank

Today we are announcing the biggest entrepreneurial program ever launched – Startup Weekend Next.

Never Say No to Networking


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Web Summit – Top 50 Hottest Early Stage Startups In The World

Blogtrepreneur | Entrepreneur Blog

4000 people attended this year’s Dublin Web Summit conference and watched two days of speeches and exhibits by leaders in the technology industry. 250 startup companies set up base in the conference halls, eager to share information, seek investors, and attract potential customers.

Kauffman Sketchbook on Startup Communities

Feld Thoughts

I just finished up at Thinc Iowa and am heading to San Francisco for a few meetings tomorrow. I had an awesome time in the last 24 hours, especially last night hanging out for three hours with 20 or so entrepreneurs at StartupCity in Des Moines.

Great Startup Teams Foster a Culture of Likability


Larry Ellison Photo by Oracle PR. You don’t have to be likeable to everyone to be a great entrepreneur, just to the people who count. Of course, we can all point to apparent exceptions, like Ted Turner or Larry Ellison, who are sometimes seen as lions, downright predators, or even jerks.

7 Facts of Business Life For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Startup Professionals Musings

When I started mentoring entrepreneurs and startups a few years ago, I anticipated that I would get mostly tough technical questions, but instead I more often hear things like “Where do I start?”

Startup Communities – Building Regional Clusters

Steve Blank

How to build regional entrepreneurial communities has just gotten it’s first “here’s how to do it” book.

Angel Investors Do Make Money, Data Shows 2.5x Returns Overall


Editor’s note: Robert Wiltbank, PhD , is a professor at Willamette University, where he and Wade Brooks run an angel investing fund managed by second-year MBA students.

Mike Michalowicz’s Net Worth

Mike Michalowicz

I know exactly why you’re here. You want to know my net worth. You want my number. In fact, you are not alone. One of the most popular searches about me is “ mike michalowicz net worth.” I get it. I totally do.

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Depression and Entrepreneurs

Feld Thoughts

Amy and I wrote a meaningful amount about entrepreneurs and depression in Startup Life. Since we finished the final draft a few weeks ago, I’ve given several talks where depression came up as I’ve woven my own experience with depression into the short (less than 15 minute) version of my story.

10 Entrepreneur Tips Dodge Million-Dollar Mistakes


Ryan Blair book image via Amazon. It’s a well-accepted axiom in the investor community that entrepreneurs learn more from their failures than their successes. Thus a well-explained startup failure often can actually improve your odds of funding in the next go-round.

8 Entrepreneur Mistakes Which Will Kill Seed Funding

Startup Professionals Musings

A while back I received a discouraging note from an entrepreneur with a patent and a medical software application who couldn’t find a dime of investment, and was grousing that seed funding just wasn’t available anymore.

The Classy Way To Get Media Coverage For Your Startup


The following is a guest blog post by Nicholas Holmes. Nicholas is the co-founder of MediaGraph , a public relations platform that enables small businesses to manage their own media outreach. He was formerly a journalist and an Accenture management consultant.

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16 Tips for Picking the Perfect Startup Name


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Follow the Instructions!

Life Beyond Code

I have seen this a few times on Facebook. This time I couldn’t resist capturing the image to make a point. In this image below, there is the photo of a man standing on the ledge with a bear right near him.

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Changing How We Think About Education

Feld Thoughts

On Friday I spent three hours at Tufts University meeting with Chris Rogers and a few of his colleagues at the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach.

Startup Execution Transcends the Idea From Day One


Apple NYC image via The Washington Post. A startup begins with a great idea, but all too often, that’s where it ends. Ideas have to be implemented well to get the desired results. Good implementation requires a plan, and a good plan and good operational decisions come from good people.

10 Reality Checks for Entrepreneurs From the Master

Startup Professionals Musings

Most of the time, I’m all about providing encouragement and inspiration to entrepreneurs. They need it and they deserve it, because entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy.

Opening Up Our Research

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

When Brad Burnham and I started USV back in 2003 and I had just started blogging, we spent a lot of time talking to potential investors in our first fund. One of their big questions we got from them about the kind of open firm we wanted to create was "how will you be able to make money if you share all of your proprietary insights?"

I have 1 year of savings, so I’m giving this startup thing a try…

Instigator Blog

Making the jump from a day job to starting a company is a scary one. I don’t believe there’s a ton of real risk – after all, you’re probably highly employable (particularly if you’re a developer) – but it’s still a big leap. And often, people do it after they’ve saved up about a year’s worth of money so they know they can survive without regular income. Saving money in advance is good. Avoiding bankruptcy and abject poverty is also good.

3-Minute Ego Test

Life Beyond Code

Do you have an ego problem? Probably not. But, take this 3-minute ego test and find out for yourself. Read each one and give a point for every statement that you agree. If your score is three or more, you need to schedule a “general ego checkup” from someone that you trust soon.


How Much Should A Startup Founder/CEO Pay Herself?

Early Stage Adventures

This post originally appeared on Dharmesh Shah’s wonderful blog – OnStartups. Back in 2008, Peter Thiel did an interview at TechCrunch50 in which he said one of the most important things he looks at before investing is how much the CEO is getting paid.

Investors are Aiming for the Big Win, Not the Mean or Average


True story: many long years ago I had founders’ stock in a video game company. At one point they were just a few weeks from going public, but that’s not the point of this story.

10 Keys to Real Entrepreneur Mentoring Satisfaction

Startup Professionals Musings

Every entrepreneur can learn from a mentor, no matter how confident or successful they have been to date. Even one of the richest, Bill Gates , still values his friend Warren Buffett as his mentor. Yet these relationships require special efforts on both sides to be productive and satisfying.

You Learn From People Who Mostly Agree With You

Ben Casnocha: The Blog

There is a romantic idea about conversation, learning, and open-mindedness: “Joe and I don’t agree on much, but we respect each other, and learn a heck of a lot from each other.”