2011

Equity for Early Employees in Early Stage Startups

SoCal CTO

I was asked by a reader how much equity he should give out to early employees and to service providers in a very early stage startup. I'll get to service providers in a later post. Founders vs. Early Employees To help with this discussion, let me start with a definition of "early employee."

Mocked And Misunderstood

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

When people ask me, "how do you know which companies and services are going to be the biggest successes?", ", I usually tell them to look for the companies and services that are mocked and misunderstood. For some reason, that correlates highly with the biggest breakout successes.

Trending Sources

Why I Quit My Job to Start a Tech Company

Vinicius Vacanti

Back in November of 2006, before NY Mag and TimeOut put startups on the cover, before the “tech bubble&# , before Twitter and Foursquare were popular, before working at a startup in NY was considered a reasonable thing to do, I was a private equity investor for a $1.6

Hacking Angel List | VentureArchetypes Blog: Seed Stage Capital

Seed Stage Capital

7 Tips For Raising Startup Capital AngelList is an amazing thing. No, let me rephrase that-- AngelList is a freakin' phenomenon. Since launching just over a year ago, 2250 investors have joined, over 400 startups have

Digging Deeper into Lean Business Model Canvases

Instigator Blog

I’m a big fan of Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas. I was also very impressed with Steve Blank’s new initiative Lean Launch Lab , which combines a canvas business model tool and a blogging tool for startups to use and share information regularly with investors.

More Trending

Start With Customer Experience

Feld Thoughts

I was reminded of the importance of starting with the customer experience while I was watching this brilliant video from WWDC 1997 of Steve Jobs. In the video, Jobs appears to be responding to attack by a troll , but is actually doing something much more interesting.

Do You Have the Mentality to Manage a Startup?

Startup Professionals Musings

A while back, when a startup founder mentioned to me that he wasn’t sure he had the personality to be an entrepreneur, I realized how important that insight was.

What Should You Do When An Investor Asks You For A Business Plan?

Ask The VC

Dan Shapiro has an excellent post up titled What to do when an investor asks you for your business plan. In it he addresses something we missed in Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. In the section where we discuss business plans, we say: “We haven’t read a business plan in over 20 years. Sure, we still get plenty of them, but it is not something we care about as we invest in areas we know well, and as a result we much prefer demos and live interactions….

32 Questions Developers May Have Forgot to Ask a Startup Founder

SoCal CTO

Almost every day I'm talking to early stage startup founders (see Free Startup CTO Consulting Sessions ) about what they plan to do. I tend to ask a lot of questions, challenge aspects, make suggestions. But I've often been very surprised by one aspect of these conversations.

How Much Money To Raise

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Image via Wikipedia. I spent some time yesterday talking to an entrepreneur about this topic and I thought I'd share what I told him with everyone.

Stop Saying ‘Let me know when works for you’

Vinicius Vacanti

As a current or aspiring entrepreneur, you should be meeting with a ton of people (potential customers, investors, biz dev partners, employees, journalists). You will often get introduced via email or you are cold-emailing them.

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Great Startups Can Hook an Investor in 60 Seconds

Gust

An “ elevator pitch ” is a concise, well-practiced description of your startup and your plan, delivered with conviction and enthusiasm, that your mother should be able to understand in the time it would take to ride up an elevator. Everybody knows about these, but few people seem to deliver a good one. A good elevator pitch is not just for an elevator discussion. Use it in every networking situation and business conference introduction.

Small Features

Instigator Blog

(Powered by LaunchBit ) We often measure the “size” of a feature based on how hard it is to build (development time) and how hard it is to use (for end users.) So a “small feature” is one that’s easy to code and easy to use.

The Amazing Power of Deflationary Economics for Startups

Both Sides of the Table

I’m often asked by people what investment areas interest me. It’s true that I have a functional focus on three areas: Performance-based marketing, digital television and mobile computing.

Entrepreneurship is an Art not a Job

Steve Blank

Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not. George Bernard Shaw.

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How cold calling (properly) works better than AdWords

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

(Powered by LaunchBit ). Tweet. --> This is a guest post from Robert Graham — a solo bootstrapper who blogs about the experience. Robert has been working in software since 2005. He is a Ph.D. dropout who spent time working for Google. Someday he’d like to work for himself.

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Protect The Internet

Feld Thoughts

Recently, two bills have been introduced into Congress that – if passed – will do irreparable damage to the Internet, entrepreneurship, free speech, and job creation as a result of the continued entrepreneurial activity around the Internet.

10 Preparation Steps to Win an Angel Investment

Startup Professionals Musings

Every new startup I know dreams of being funded by an angel investor. Yet according to the latest data from Gust (formerly AngelSoft), only about 3 out of 100 companies who initiate the formal request process actually get funded.

Model Cap Tables With VCHub

Ask The VC

A few days ago I answered a question on AsktheVC about modeling cap tables. After a quick email conversation with Jeff Boardman (founder of LearnVC ), I realize I had left his product off the list. Jeff has done a nice job building a site that both models a cap table and provides a lot of information to empower entrepreneurs both with educational resources and software tools.

CTO Equity and Compensation at Venture Backed Companies

SoCal CTO

Todd Gitlin of Safire Partners was nice enough to compile some data on CTO Equity and Compensation at Venture Backed Companies for the LA CTO Forum and present last year. He agreed to make this data public which is awesome. Todd is a go to resource for people looking for talent in startups.

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Why I'm Rooting For Google+

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

The day Google+ launched, I sent a friend at Google who was involved in building the service an email requesting an invite. I got the invite late that day and started playing with the service. Here's my profile. I'm not sure if this page is public or you need a Google+ login to see it. At some point Google will open the service to everyone and I expect this page will be public, but I'm not sure. In any case, I hope Google+ succeeds.

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The Long Grind Before You Become an Overnight Success

Vinicius Vacanti

Hustling from our shared workspace cubicles. “So, what do you do?&#. I hated that question. The truth was that we were trying to start a new venture but we hadn’t really made any progress.

Valuations 101: Scorecard Valuation Methodology

Gust

Individual accredited investors in typical angel deals put personal capital at risk for an equity share of growth-oriented, start-up companies. These angel investors generally invest $25,000 to $100,000 in a round totaling $250,000 to $1,000,000. In 2011, the valuation of pre-revenue, start-up companies is typically in the range of $1.5–$2.5 million and is established by negotiations between the entrepreneur and the angel investors.

Lessons Learned Launching a Lean Startup Accelerator

Instigator Blog

Year One Labs is a Lean Startup accelerator. I believe it’s one of the first of its kind, with a very heavy focus on customer development and a rigorous Lean Startup process.

Lean 112

Why You Need to Take 50 Coffee Meetings

Both Sides of the Table

50 coffee meetings. It should stick in your head as a metaphor for networking. For getting outside of your comfort zone. For starting relationships today that won’t pay off for a year. It’s the entrepreneur’s equivalent of “ 10,000 hours.&#.

Hiring – Easy as Pie

Steve Blank

Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten involved in hiring for two startups, a public agency and a non profit. Part of each conversation was getting asked to help them put together a “job spec.”. I had them leave with a pie chart. ——– There must be something in the air.

Hiring 149

The unfortunate math behind consulting companies

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

Consulting can be a great way to fund a startup or make a bunch of cash. It’s easy to start; Just pick an hourly rate and jump in. But someday soon you’ll notice there’s only so many billable hours in the day, and you’ll be tempted to expand.

BE ON FIRE

Feld Thoughts

A few weeks ago a guest post titled Minimum Viable Personality appeared on Fred Wilson’s blog. The author was a Giant Robot Dinosaur who has been dishing out wisdom in all caps in the comments on Fred’s blog for a long time. I’m a huge fan of FAKEGRIMLOCK, occasionally commenting on his comments, but often laughing out loud or smiling with recognition of their brilliance when I saw them. And, I grinned with relief when I finally made his #NOEATFRIDAY list.

7 Reasons Big-Company Executives Fail in a Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

Mid-level or even top executives who “grew up” in large companies often look with envy at startups, and dream of how easy it must be running a small organization, where you can see the whole picture and it appears you have total control.

How Do VCs Mitigate Risk In Their Investment Portfolios?

Ask The VC

Question: How do VCs mitigate risk in their investment portfolios? Are VCs simply looking to diversify the type and stage of companies in which they invest, or do they employ other financial hedging strategies? I’m not aware of VCs using classic financial hedging strategies. In many cases, they are prohibited from doing this by their LP agreements and/or investment documents in the companies when they make an investment.

Hiring a CTO for Your Startup

SoCal CTO

Several people have recently come to me to help them source and/or hire full-time CTOs for their startup having found me through my post that looks at: Startup CTO Salary and Equity Data.

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Want To Be A VC? Start A Company.

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Steve Blank has a great post up on his blog suggesting that VCs should require startup CEO experience in their partners' resumes. He quotes from me in that post but I'm not going to state which one came from me. You can guess if you want. You might be surprised to know that I agree with Steve. I have never run a startup company. By Steve's measure, that is a weakness in my background and experience. And I agree that it is.

How To Get Your First 1,000 Users

Vinicius Vacanti

The good news is that it’s easier than you think to get 1,000 people to try your site. The bad news is that it’s really hard to get those people to turn into users, users that create an account, users that come back repeatedly and users that tell their friends about your site.

STARTUP IS VISION

Startup Lessons Learned

The following is a rather unusual guest post. One of the more surreal parts of speaking publicly and putting ideas out into the ether is to watch other people run with them. I can't seem to help tuning into comment threads on blogs, news aggregators, etc.