I got to hang out with Harry Stebbings on his podcast, The 20 Minute VC, It was fun to do and I figured I would share it here. We covered a bunch of stuff including what I learned following Josh around early in my VC career to the way I think about building partnerships with founders and how I think about success in my work First Round.
Thanks to Harry for the great questions and conversation.
As Silicon Valley and China see VC funding accelerate, Europe seems to be slipping into a lower gear. According to the latest quarterly numbers from Dow Jones VentureSource, the amount of funding raised by startups in Europe and the number of deals all slid sharply in the three months ending in September. The 3Q’18 Europe Venture Capital repo…Read More
Chrysalix Venture Capital has closed the first part of its new Industry 4.0 fund, which will target startups focused on more energy-efficient production. The Chrysalix RoboValley Fund will be on the hunt for startups in areas such as industrial 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and internet of things (IoT) that are seeking to reinvent…Read More
Year after year, startups in U.S. cities like San Francisco, New York, and Boston continue to raise an unprecedented amount of venture capital — but so do companies in other parts of the world. Now, a new report out today from the Center for American Entrepreneurship gives cause for concern about whether the U.S. will remain the top place for…Read More
GUEST: Today, PitchBook revealed its 2018 Chicago VC Ecosystem report, released in conjunction with ChicagoNEXT’s Chicago Venture Summit. This report finds that Chicago continues to outpace every other U.S. venture ecosystem — including the Bay Area — in median multiple on invested capital (MOIC). Chicago startups give investors a median MOIC of 5.…Read More
In this week’s newsletter, I want to point to a couple of recent pieces where Silicon Valley-based VCs have spoken about how the places they are investing in have changed. First up, a piece from Hunter Walk, a partner at seed stage venture fund Homebrew, that goes through the different geographical “phases” of the firm’s investments. First, the fir…Read More
In the start-up world, the disruptor is the cool kid on the block, the one who’ll change the world — or at least the products you’ll buy and how you buy them. She takes on the grown-ups in suits and shows us all how dumb they are. Customers love her because she makes them feel like rebels (with a cause), suppliers love her because she makes them look smart, and — most importantly — investors love her because she makes them feel they’re putting money into tomorrow’s big player.
That, at least, is what the hype around disruption would have you believe. A new product or technology sells better to all stakeholders if people can be persuaded that it will disrupt the status quo. But does the evidence bear out this belief? Specifically, does presenting yourself as a disruptor really make it more likely that your startup will get
Emplify, a two-year-old software startup that helps companies track employee satisfaction more consistently, announced today that it has raised a $7.5 million round of financing. The round was led by the growth equity arm of New Jersey’s Edison Partners. A pair of Midwestern VC firms — Indiana’s Allos Ventures, Missouri’s Cu…Read More
Last week marked the one-year-anniversary of Amazon opening up its search for HQ2. There were quite a few news outlets that, for the occasion, rolled out opinion pieces on what it has all meant. Axios wrote that what’s even more important than where Amazon will locate its headquarters is the fact that the company now has a “database chock full of g…Read More
GUEST: By now you’ve likely seen this week’s The Economist cover story titled “Peak Valley,” which features quotes from Claire Haidar. She is CEO of WNDYR, an Intelis Capital portfolio company. The article highlights outrageous costs of living, poor local government, and high operating costs as the catalysts behind an impend…Read More
SPONSORED: Presented by Providence Ventures Entrepreneurs can easily scour the news wire for articles related to the age-old question: “What Should I Ask a Prospective VC?” As opposed to retreading familiar ground, I’d like to tackle the topic from a perspective near and dear to my heart: Namely, the nuances of inviting a “Strategic” investor into…Read More
I spent a few days last week attending a startup conference in Nashville, Tennessee. There, I met with entrepreneurs, investors, and ecosystem builders mostly from Southeastern cities, but also from places like Minneapolis and Indianapolis. When meeting with people at conferences, there’s a few questions I always ask them: what are some companies…Read More
GUEST: For years, Silicon Valley wasn’t the main place many venture capitalists looked for deals — it was the only place. But the Bay Area is beginning to lose its once vice-like grip on talented workers, and its startup investment market is looking dangerously overheated. Now VCs are lifting their gaze from California and scouting for North…Read More
As the blockchain technology space matures, we‘re seeing an increasing number of platforms designed to help traditional markets tokenize, decentralize, and take advantage of distributed ledgers. VNX Exchange is now launching a European digital asset marketplace aimed at bringing liquidity to the $620 billion global venture capital industry. It has…Read More
\I had the pleasure of speaking with Harry Stebbings for the second time on the SaaStr podcast released today. On this episode we took a different tact, focusing more on the zero — 1 enterprise stage and how to get your first referenceable customers vs. scaling post Series B. Please listen here if interested in how to grow and gain your first Fortune 500 customers — show notes below.
SaaStr 190: Why SaaS Founders Should Not Sell Their Products in The Early Days, How Founders Can Build Relationships with Enterprise CIOs and The Right Way To Think About Discounting and Pilots with Ed Sim, Founding Partner @ Boldstart Ventures
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn: • How Ed made his way into the world of VC from one very meaningful high school lecture that changed his life and career path? • What does Ed mean when he says “founders should not sell their product to enterprise in the early days”. Starting from the ground up, what can founders do to begin that relationship building process with enterprise buyers and CIOs? What can a startup do to establish that trust in the mind of large buyers? How much of a role does VC backing provide in comforting enterprise buyers? • What would Ed advise founders contemplating the debate of going SMB up to enterprise or enterprise to SMB? What role should product play in this decision-making process? What are the leading indicators in testing the product that founders should observe for and guide their direction? Where does Ed most often see founders make mistakes here? • How does Ed think about discounting? Would he agree with a previous guest that “discounting is now table stakes”? Rather than the financial element, what does Ed believe the founder should really be looking to get from the buyer in terms of commitment? How does Ed approach and asses pilots? To what extent should they be free or paid? What can be done to set the benchmarks for success and ensure closing?
What does Ed know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
Quality or quantity of logos?
What would Ed most like to change in the world of SaaS?
A few weeks ago, I sat in “the red chair” of Recode Media’s Decode Podcast recording studio in San Francisco. Most tech podcasts I’ve been on are usually recorded in some back room or startup side room, but not this episode… no, no. Recode’s senior finance reporter, Teddy Schleifer, was kind enough to host me on the famous “Recode Decode” podcast and the episode aired today. You can listen to our discussion above via SoundCloud, or by clicking here (for my favorite mobile app for podcasts).
Ted guided us through a fantastic discussion that touches on many facets of what I’ve observed in the world of venture capital — how to break in, how to land a role, how firms think about hiring, what processes firms use to make an investment decisions, how the public has come to think of venture capital, what the limits of VCs are, why Continue reading "Discussing All Things VC On The Recode Decode Podcast"
Included in this week’s “Beyond VB” section is an argument from John C. Austin at the Brookings Institution about how the Rust Belt still needs more capital in order to create more tech jobs. Many of the ecosystem builders I’ve spoken to disagree on how much of a role capital plays in building a strong entrepreneurial ecosys…Read More
Norwest Venture Partners interviewed a bunch of private company CEOs and founders, getting a glimpse into their worries, which include fear of failure, feeling unqualified, and hiring the wrong people. The multi-stage investment firm, which manages $7.5 billion in capital and has invested in 600 companies, released its 2018 CEO Journey study today.…Read More
We have a lot of ground to cover here in the Heartland Tech section. But despite spanning the South, the Midwest, and the Mountain West region, I sometimes feel like I’m covering startups in the same handful of cities. That’s why I was pleased to see a report out this week from Chicago-based VC firm M25 on the Best Startups in the Midwest that does…Read More
From the start of Foundry Group in 2007, we have felt strongly about this. We feel that if an LP gives us a $1 to invest, we should invest at least that $1, not $0.85 (the average fee load over a decade for a typical VC fund is 15%.) Our goal for each fund is actually to invest closer to 110%, which means if an LP gives us a $1 to invest, we are actually investing $1.10.