Day: August 10, 2022

Now Is The Time to Play Offense


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


For the past six months, there has been a lot of handwringing about the market downturn. Most everyone has been advising entrepreneurs to marshal their capital, cut costs, and extend their runway. In essence, play defense.

Many investors have been creating a whiplash effect with their portfolio companies. As one of my CEOs put to me, wryly — “In my January board meeting, I wasn’t hiring and scaling fast enough and told to ‘go, go’, go’. In my April board meeting, I was burning too fast and was told to ‘stop, stop, stop’.”

Her experience rhymes with many stories I’ve heard.

But recently, as the dust has settled a bit, I am seeing the best entrepreneurs realize that now is the time to play offense. The “play offense” playbook is well known to many, but hard to execute during a downturn. With the start of the football season around the corner (go Patriots!) and as I have been talking to my most talented entrepreneurs, I have been thinking more and more about what playing offense looks like in 2022–2023. Here’s the six-part playbook I’m hearing:

1) Talent acquisition. A few years ago, it was impossible to acquire talent. The best engineers, sales reps, and growth managers could name their price and had a dozen offers in front of them. Today, layoffs — (Read more...)

6 Additional Takeaways from the Latest Venture Monitor



The second quarter of 2022 brought a series of new stories to the U.S. venture capital (VC) ecosystem. While the initial narratives around the quarter revolved around inflation concerns and the tightening monetary environment. However, as the first half of the year came to an end, insights garnered from the Q2 2022 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor data and interviews with members of the VC community have painted a more nuanced picture.

Q2 2022 deal value and count are down from Q1 as well as the all-time records of 2021. However, both metrics are at or above quarterly medians when compared to the last five years. Furthermore, as the market becomes more diverse – with record numbers of new managers, corporate venture capital funds, and crossover investors – it is now easier for capital to flow in and out of the market than ever before. This means that with an uncertain market environment, investors and founders will need to focus on value creation and capital efficiency to continue to fuel the nation’s innovation ecosystem.

Key Takeaways

2021 Was A Remarkable Year and Perhaps an Unsustainable Benchmark: While year-on-year quarterly deal activity is down across most sectors in Q2 2022, it is up across most sectors when compared to the Q2 median over the last five years. While the VC market is undergoing a correction, it’s clear that the record-setting numbers of 2021 are not the new normal.

The Exit Environment Is Mixed: With 8 VC-backed IPOs completed over the course of Q2, (Read more...)

6 Additional Takeaways from the Latest Venture Monitor



The second quarter of 2022 brought a series of new stories to the U.S. venture capital (VC) ecosystem. While the initial narratives around the quarter revolved around inflation concerns and the tightening monetary environment. However, as the first half of the year came to an end, insights garnered from the Q2 2022 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor data and interviews with members of the VC community have painted a more nuanced picture.

Q2 2022 deal value and count are down from Q1 as well as the all-time records of 2021. However, both metrics are at or above quarterly medians when compared to the last five years. Furthermore, as the market becomes more diverse – with record numbers of new managers, corporate venture capital funds, and crossover investors – it is now easier for capital to flow in and out of the market than ever before. This means that with an uncertain market environment, investors and founders will need to focus on value creation and capital efficiency to continue to fuel the nation’s innovation ecosystem.

Key Takeaways

2021 Was A Remarkable Year and Perhaps an Unsustainable Benchmark: While year-on-year quarterly deal activity is down across most sectors in Q2 2022, it is up across most sectors when compared to the Q2 median over the last five years. While the VC market is undergoing a correction, it’s clear that the record-setting numbers of 2021 are not the new normal.

The Exit Environment Is Mixed: With 8 VC-backed IPOs completed over the course of Q2, (Read more...)

[Video] Bill Gurley on Surviving Downturns


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


No matter where you look, the technology industry — from stalwarts to startups — is going through a reset. And that has led many companies to lay off people, cut costs and pare back their ambitions.

For so many of our startup founders, this is a new experience — a whole generation of entrepreneurs hasn’t experienced a bear market. And as a result, they don’t have frameworks to deal with this new reality. It is not as if they don’t want to deal with the situation. It is just that most founders are biased towards optimism (as they should) and have a hard time optimizing for the realities of tough times.

One of the toughest tasks for founders is figuring out how to tighten their belts. It is hard to decide how many people to cut from the company payrolls. People make incremental cuts to their teams — and these cuts don’t have a real impact and lead to more cuts.

Bill Gurley, a partner at Benchmark Capital, is a venture investor who has been through a few ups and downs. He recently tweeted:

(Read more...)

[Video] Bill Gurley on Surviving Downturns


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


No matter where you look, the technology industry — from stalwarts to startups — is going through a reset. And that has led many companies to lay off people, cut costs and pare back their ambitions.

For so many of our startup founders, this is a new experience — a whole generation of entrepreneurs hasn’t experienced a bear market. And as a result, they don’t have frameworks to deal with this new reality. It is not as if they don’t want to deal with the situation. It is just that most founders are biased towards optimism (as they should) and have a hard time optimizing for the realities of tough times.

One of the toughest tasks for founders is figuring out how to tighten their belts. It is hard to decide how many people to cut from the company payrolls. People make incremental cuts to their teams — and these cuts don’t have a real impact and lead to more cuts.

Bill Gurley, a partner at Benchmark Capital, is a venture investor who has been through a few ups and downs. He recently tweeted:

(Read more...)

Rare Skills


This post is by Collab Fund from Collab Fund


Three rare and powerful skills:

1. Understanding how people justify their beliefs in a way that makes you respect their delusions.

A rare and useful skill is understanding that people you find to be deluded likely suffer from the same shortcomings you do.

Historian Will Durant wrote in his book The Lessons of History that we should learn enough from history to respect each other’s delusions. He explained:

Our knowledge of any past event is always incomplete, probably inaccurate, beclouded by ambivalent evidence and biased historians, and perhaps distorted by our own patriotic or religious partisanship. Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.

I think this boils down to three points:

  • Everyone is heavily influenced by what they’ve experienced firsthand, because what you’ve experienced is more persuasive than something you read about.

  • Even our understanding of firsthand experience is sketchy, because we oversimplify what happened and self-justify our involvement.

  • Those who didn’t experience an event firsthand have an even weaker grasp on reality because they can cherry pick the oversimplified, self-justified arguments and data from people with firsthand experience.

So everyone has delusions about how the world works. You, me, everyone.

We are all prisoners to our past, products of our generation, and influenced by who we’ve met and what we’ve experienced, most of which has been out of our control. Some are worse than others, and some are more aware of their blindspots. But everyone has a firmly held belief that an equally smart and informed person (Read more...)

Rare Skills



Three rare and powerful skills:

1. Understanding why people believe things in a way that makes you respect their delusions.

A rare and useful skill is understanding that people you find to be deluded likely suffer from the same shortcomings you do.

Historian Will Durant wrote in his book The Lessons of History that we should learn enough from history to respect each other’s delusions. He explained:

Our knowledge of any past event is always incomplete, probably inaccurate, beclouded by ambivalent evidence and biased historians, and perhaps distorted by our own patriotic or religious partisanship. Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.

I think this boils down to three points:

  • Everyone is heavily influenced by what they’ve experienced firsthand, because what you’ve experienced is more persuasive than something you read about.

  • Even our understanding of firsthand experience is sketchy, because we oversimplify what happened and self-justify our involvement.

  • Those who didn’t experience an event firsthand have an even weaker grasp on reality because they can cherry pick the oversimplified, self-justified arguments and data from people with firsthand experience.

So everyone has delusions about how the world works. You, me, everyone.

We are all prisoners to our past, products of our generation, and influenced by who we’ve met and what we’ve experienced, most of which has been out of our control. Some are worse than others, and some are more aware of their blindspots. But everyone has a firmly held belief that an equally smart and informed person disagrees (Read more...)

Head of Legal and Compliance – Toyota Ventures



Founded in 2017, Toyota Ventures is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm with more than $500M assets under management that invests in early-stage startups around the world in frontier and climate technologies. We are on a mission to discover what’s next for Toyota by helping startups bring ground-breaking technologies and business models to market quickly. We’ve invested in over 55 companies, including Bipi (acquired), Blackmore (acquired), Carbice, Ecolectro, e-Zinc, Intuition Robotics, Joby Aviation (NYSE: Joby), May Mobility, Nauto, Near Space Labs, Revel, and Universal Hydrogen.

Want to work in a fast-paced environment where you can use your legal expertise to help drive better business outcomes? Our team and portfolio are growing, and we are looking for an experienced head of legal and compliance who is passionate about venture capital and startups. It’s a hands-on role that involves collaborating with multiple partners quickly and optimally.

We value acting with integrity and empathy, being humble but ambitious, and keeping it weird. We’re also committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within the team, portfolio, and the larger VC industry. We are based in the San Francisco Bay Area and have a hybrid environment with time split between the office and remote work. Location is flexible (but U.S.-based).

Responsibilities

  • You will lead all legal aspects of Toyota Ventures.
  • Manage a broad range of transactional matters, including reviewing, drafting, and negotiating agreements relating to fund formation and portfolio investments, with and without outside counsel support.
  • Manage projects and issues related to Toyota Ventures’ investments, (Read more...)

Case Prep


This post is by Jo Tango from jtangoVC.com


Summer ended for me on August 1. I started “case prep” at that point. By nature, I usually front-load my work. But starting early will also give me more than ample capacity to meet my VC responsibilities in the fall. This fall I again will teach two sections of the Harvard Business School Venture Capital

The post Case Prep appeared first on jtangoVC.com.

How to search for the top blogs on any topic, in 2022



A collaborator just asked me how to best find great blogs to subscribe to on a topic we’re working on and I thought I’d answer the question publicly. I feel like I’ve shared some thoughts on this every 3-5 years for the past 15 years or so and my answer is always changing. New tools emerge, old tools go offline. Here’s what I’m using now:

1. Feedly recommendations

Subscribe to one blog you like on the topic and see what Feedly recommends as related. Then see what Feedly says is similar to those blogs.

2. Twitter recommendations

Most of the time when you follow an account on Twitter, you’ll get 3 social-graph based recommendations for related accounts. You can also unfollow accounts that you’re already following, refresh the page (essential), then follow them again – and you’ll get more recommendations. I regularly find 1 or 2 great ones here, and then I click through their home pages to find their blogs.

3. Google related:

If you use the query related:[URL] Google will give you some good recommendations as well. Here’s an example.

4. Ask people

If you can have a conversation with leading people in the field, tell them about the project you’re doing the research for, ask them to tell you about their most recent work (see if you can help), then ask them what blogs they’d recommend. Do that with a handful of people and you’ll not only get good recommendations, you’ll develop relationships as well.

That’s how (Read more...)