Sat.Oct 01, 2011 - Fri.Oct 07, 2011

The Helsinki Spring

Steve Blank

I spent the month of September lecturing, and interacting with (literally) thousands of entrepreneurs in two emerging startup markets, Finland and Russia. This is the first of two posts about Finland and entrepreneurship.

The full story of “the one important thing” for startups

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

Get more involved in the Bay Area startup community: Join the WebWallflower mailing list to get a calendar of upcoming startup events and exclusive discounts sent right to you every two weeks. Powered by LaunchBit ).

Trending Sources

What We've Lost And What We've Gained

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

I shed my tears when Steve Jobs stepped down less than six weeks ago. That's when I knew it was over. The news came to me last night during a board dinner. My 18 year old daughter kik'd me. I asked her if she was sure. She said "it's all over twitter" I interrupted the lively dinner conversation. "I've "I've got some important news. Steve Jobs has passed away" Six entrepreneurs and VCs in that room. Among the best I've ever worked with.

Steve Jobs – Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Feld Thoughts

Last night, during dinner with the Return Path board, Fred Wilson interrupted the discussion we were having to tell us that Steve Jobs had just passed away. All of us were stunned silent for a minute as we reflected on the amazing impact that Steve has had on our lives.

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Why Aren’t There More Female Entrepreneurs?

Both Sides of the Table

I’m often asked the question about why there aren’t more women who are entrepreneurs. On my blog I’ve been hesitant to take the topic head on. Somehow it seems kind of strange for a man to answer this question that obviously comes from a man’s point of view.

More Trending

The $250,000 Funding Trap

Instigator Blog

$250,000 is a lot of money. Venture investors might not think so, but for most of us it’s a lot of moolah. And for early stage startups it’s often the amount they ask for coming out of the gate (or $500,000 – which seems to be pretty standard as a first, seed ask). The problem is that $250,000 is a dangerous amount of money to invest in an early stage startup. For first-time entrepreneurs, $250,000 sounds like a million dollars. Maybe more.

10 Quotes That Tag You as a High Risk Entrepreneur

Startup Professionals Musings

Every entrepreneur needs to be honest about their strengths and weaknesses, and realistic about their reasons for choosing the startup route. For any entrepreneur, even the best business opportunities, if entered for the wrong reasons, will likely fail.

What Makes a Successful Business Plan?

Up and Running

Every year, I spend a lot of time reading and judging business plans for business plan competitions. I have read some great plans and some not-so-great plans, but that is how it always turns out in any business plan competition.

Great Board Meetings

Feld Thoughts

I’ve had a string of great board meetings lately. They all had several similar attributes. There were no powerpoint slides : While each company has a substantive monthly reporting package, this was decoupled from the board meeting. I got my taste of financials, metrics, qualitative stuff, and whatever else the CEO wanted me to see on a monthly basis.

Convertible Debt – Early Versus Late Stage Dynamics

Ask The VC

Once again we continue our series on convertible debt deals. Today’s subject is early versus late stage dynamics. Traditionally, convertible debt was issued by mid to late stage startups that needed a financing to get them to a place where they believed they could raise more money. Thus, these deals were called “bridge financings.”.

Smart Entrepreneurs Follow the Zig Zag Principle

Startup Professionals Musings

It would be no fun if starting a business was simply plotting a straight line between your idea and success, with no challenges along the way.

Customer Validation - 33 Great Articles


I saw a great post from Tristan Kromer Pivoting on Investor Feedback a.k.a Beware of Mentors. It was a top post on StartupRoar on Tuesday. His basic point was: If someone, including me, tells you something isn’t a great idea and there’s no market for it there are only two acceptable responses.

3 Ways to Use Twitter to More Deeply Engage Influential Prospects

Duct Tape Marketing

3 Ways to Use Twitter to More Deeply Engage Influential Prospects This content from: Duct Tape Marketing. Amidst all the talk of Google+ and the new, new Facebook, Twitter has a lost a bit of its glow.

Convertible Debt – Warrants

Ask The VC

Earlier in the convertible debt series we talked about the “discounted price to the next round” approach to providing a discount on convertible debt. The other approach to a discount is to “issue warrants” This approach is more complex and usually only applies to situations where the company has already raised a round of equity, but it still pops up in early stage deals. If you are doing a seed round, we encourage you not to use this approach and save some legal fees.

It’s Time for Entrepreneurs to Shift and Reset

Startup Professionals Musings

It’s time for more entrepreneurs to reset their focus, and shift their thinking to completely different ways of doing things.

Looking Bigger

Scott Weiss

“We like what you guys are doing but there’s no way we’d replace the aorta of our communications infrastructure with a beta box from a 20-person startup.” ” —Director of IT, Fidelity Investments (circa 2002). Call it the enterprise startup conundrum: how do you earn legitimacy if no one will give you an opportunity to become legitimate?

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Choosing A Minimally Viable Co-Founder


If you're starting a company, one of the most important decisions you'll make early on is the selection of a co-founder. Some might advocate just “going it alone” because finding a great co-founder is hard and fraught with risk. It is hard and it is fraught with risk.

Warrants In A Deal With An Advisor

Ask The VC

Question: I am a startup about to receive a convertible loan investment. My friend has been advising me on an adhoc basis re. the financials on a barter basis with me. Now he’d like to formalise his agreement with the company. He has made his money as an entrepreneur and now travels alot but will be available for consultancy for us. His deal feels harsh: 1) he’d like to consult for 2 days a month at £1,000 per day.

SayAhh’s Revenue Projections

Feld Thoughts

Since last checking in with the SayAhh team, they have spent a few months consumed with building an early version of the product and speaking to potential customers, all the while watching their cash balance steadily diminish. They realize the clock is ticking and have decided that it is time to create a robust set of financial projections in order to provide themselves with a better sense of when they will need to raise more money.

10 Apps I Use Every Single Day

Duct Tape Marketing

10 Apps I Use Every Single Day This content from: Duct Tape Marketing. More and more, we’re becoming an app happy world – Apps that run on our laptops, apps for the mobile and apps for the iPad or tablet.

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Building the Company vs. Building the Business


Building the Company vs. Building the Business. I was being interviewed recently for a book someone is writing on entrepreneurship, which focused on identifying the elements of my “playbook” for entrepreneurial success at Return Path. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a full playbook, though I’ve certainly documented pieces of it in this blog over the years.

How Many Shares Should I Use To Incorporate My Company?

Ask The VC

Question: How many shares should I use to incorporate my company? Keep it simple. The more shares you authorize, the more you’ll have to pay in taxes (although these are not large numbers). They key is having enough shares to have the ability to grant all sorts of equity to different people who help your company. For instance, if you only authorized 10 shares, the minimum amount of the company that you could grant would be 10%.

10 Rules For Writing An Effective Sales Letter by Yaro Starak

I’m Tom McSherry , EJ’s newest columnist. I’ve been self-employed for the past two years thanks to the world of Internet marketing and my skills as a freelance copywriter. My main business is Premium Online Writing , a top-quality writing service designed to give web business owners a reliable option for outsourcing writing work without taking a “lucky dip” on quality.

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The Predictable Flood of Politics Oriented Web Startups

Feld Thoughts

I received at least one email a day last week pitching a politics oriented web startup. The emails start off something like this. Over $8 billion dollars will be spent on the upcoming 2012 election. The web and social media are critical tools for any candidate. Every candidate will need our stuff and since over $8 billion dollars will be spent, even if we capture a tiny part of that market, we will create a huge company. Did I say that over $8 billion dollars will be spent ?

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My Interview With Carlota Perez

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

There are many people who should get credit for Union Square Ventures' investment strategy.    The community here at AVC is certainly on that list. But possibly at the top of the list is Carlota Perez. Her book, Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital , was responsible for much of the foundational thinking Brad and I did at the start of Union Square Ventures back in 2003, which in turn led to our initial investment thesis.

Teaching With Our Book – Venture Deals

Ask The VC

We’ve been flattered through the years to hear that several highly acclaimed universities have used our term sheet series to teach business, law and engineering students the ins and outs of the venture financing term sheet. With the release of our book, Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist , we’ve begun to hear that folks are using our book in the classroom, as well.

Knowledge Is Power: Convertible Note Financing Terms, Part II


Last week , we gave some attention to the “why” behind convertible note financing for early stage startups. In this installment, I’ll dig into the “how” by dissecting an example term sheet based on a real deal. For those playing at home, you may find it helpful to download the sample term sheet from my firm’s website and follow along with the commentary. As with so many subjects in law and finance, mastering the jargon is half the battle.

Slice of Lime Celebrates 10 Years and Focuses on User Interface Design

Feld Thoughts

As some of you may know, we made a modest investment in Slice of Lime in 2007. This year, Slice of Lime is celebrating 10 years of being in business. This is a huge accomplishment and we couldn’t be more proud of the business Kevin, Jeff, and Daniel have built.

We are the greed we protest against #occupywallst

This is going to be BIG.

I just finished reading this sobering account of California's municipal economic woes written by Michael Lewis--an account of a society completely unwilling to self-regulate, and on a straight path to financial and cultural bankruptcy. credit: Marion Siegel Yes, cultural.

Brisbourne: The Math Behind Anti-Dilution (With Examples)

Ask The VC

Well – I fell off that particular horse. That would be the “I’ll blog daily about the best VC blog post of the past 24 hours.” ” I could make some snarky comment about how there weren’t any for the last few weeks, but that wouldn’t be true. I just fell of the horse.

No Good News on Employment Outlook from Small Business

The Entrepreneurial Mind

Chief economist for the NFIB, William C. Dunkelberg, issued comments on the continued dismal job findings from the latest NFIB monthly economic survey that will be released on Tuesday, October 11, 2011: "There is a reason that Washington is talking in circles when it comes to the economy: There is no good news to report.

Management Quality Assurance

Ben's Blog

You’d better check yourself before you wreck yourself. Ice Cube, Check Yo Self. Everyone in the technology industry seems to agree that people are paramount, yet nobody seems to be on the same page with what the people organization­—Human Resources—should look like. The problem is that when it comes to HR, most CEOs don’t really know what they want. In theory, they want a well-managed company with a great culture. Instinctively they know that an HR organization probably can’t deliver that.

My favorite blog posts from the last 6 years

Escape From Cubicle Nation

My kids Rosie and Josh have grown with my blog. Photo by Lewis Stewart, otherwise known as grandpa. Six years ago today, I hit “publish” on my very first blog post. I was on maternity leave from my consulting business and was taking care of my son Josh, who was seven months old.

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Weiss: Looking Bigger

Ask The VC

The post of the day is from Scott Weiss (Andreesseen Horowitz) titled Looking Bigger. Scott’s a new VC blogger – I’ve gotten to know him over the past few years on the Return Path board and he’s a dynamite thinker. He’s got amazingly useful experience (and stories) from his last company – IronPort – and this post is a good example of his insights which are backed up with real experience.