Junior people in VC are gate keepers who add friction to the system

My friend Dave Knox just added a piece on his blog that looks at this issue through the lens of business development and sales. It is a great perspective on B2B deals.
I joined First Round Capital as a Principal knowing I would have a voice on the investment team, not a vote.

Keeping you out or fighting to keep you in? Gate keepers can do both...

I have a specific approach to meetings with entrepreneurs and work hard to add value to each founder who takes the time to meet with me. Some of this value is strategic. It is based on my experience as an entrepreneur, as a consumer-focused product development and marketing guy, and pop-culture loving sneakerheadVC who loves to talk with smart people building great stuff. Some of this value is tactical. It is based on my position within First Round, the visibility I have Continue reading "Junior people in VC are gate keepers who add friction to the system"

SneakerheadVC Dunkolicious Christmas

Get ready to lace ‘em up tight and get your gameface on for 2010. It’s going to be a year full of highlights, and with every highlight, there is someone dunking and someone getting dunked on.
When the top 10 lists come out for next year, will you be hanging on the rim or looking into someone’s wasteband? We’ve been waiting all year for 2010. So glad it is right around the corner!
Happy Holidays, SneakerheadVC @phineasb

NYC: a winning culture and the start-up

I want to meet this NYC kid when she starts a company

I want to meet this NYC kid when she starts a company

Michael Karnjanaprakorn wrote a great piece on the NYC start-up scene and included a list (growing through the comments) of all the great things happening in the city where I spend most of my days for First Round. He says, “I believe that NYC tech start-ups have a better eye for design, user experience, business models, and creating companies that solve real problems (and not launching more “me-too” companies).  And the icing on the cake?  The companies coming out of NYC right now are just… sexy.  There’s no other way to explain it.” Since June, I have been hanging out in the New York tech scene (and getting back into the NYC-kicks scene as a sneakerheadVC) and think the environment that cradled jazz and created Hip-Hop is now supporting a new generation of creative talent. For me, Continue reading "NYC: a winning culture and the start-up"

Two paths

there are always (at least) two paths...

there are always (at least) two paths...

The 20+ inches of snow outside have me remembering bits and pieces of Robert Frost and thinking about choices at 5:45am on a Sunday: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” Recently I had the opportunity to introduce two current MBA students from top 3 schools to a company that is looking for smart people to help them do some market research. Each student spoke to the founder and then their paths diverged like the roads in the woods. One student took the opportunity to respond with a thank you and an outline of the project already written-up as an independent study project. He also included the comments from the professor who would be sponsoring him in the research. He asked the founder to comment on the proposed Continue reading "Two paths"

Building Blocks (and customer love)

I had lunch with a friend and entrepreneur, Spencer Fry from Carbonmade, and over a great burger we discussed the importance of not only giving your customer a voice in the product development process, but making sure you are listening to the best customers.  He wrote about our conversation on his blog today and got some great comments. I am adding my sneakerheadVC view here and hope to get a couple comments as well. Early adopters tend to be taste-makers. They like to try new stuff, but they also like to introduce people to the new stuff they are using. This group is fanatical, they are loud and the way they use the product and the features they request are typically not market appropriate.  They will love you and hate you all at once. It is a teenage crush, you should listen and learn but you should Continue reading "Building Blocks (and customer love)"

The answer to “What if?” (In memory of Greg Kannerstein)

A mentor and friend that will be dearly missed

A mentor and friend that will be dearly missed

I spent yesterday at a memorial service for one of the great men I have had the opportunity to call a friend. Greg was the spirit of Haverford College and he was a mentor to me, to most of my friends and to my wife. You can read more about him here. When I was at Haverford, Greg was the Director of Athletics and I got to know him because I played hoops and my roommate played baseball. However, my fondest memory of Greg has nothing to do with sports. He helped me figure out how to answer the question, “What if…?” and I will never forget it. Spring of my senior year I was trying to decide if working for AND 1 made sense or if I should go to Wall Street. I needed advice so I went to
Friends this fall
Continue reading "The answer to “What if?” (In memory of Greg Kannerstein)"