Experiments Lead to Product-Market Fit


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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The central theme of my Harvard Business School class, Launching Technology Ventures (LTV), is that startups are experimentation machines and the choice and design of experiments during a finite envelope of time and money is the central strategic decision that founders make. In other words, founders should test the experiments that matter most.

If done correctly, these early experiments eventually lead to finding product-market fit. But finding product-market fit in the context of a dynamic system that makes up the startup business model is complex and nuanced. Each component of the business model is linked to the other. Thus, experiments should be run that hold certain elements constant and focus on testing the most important, critical path business model elements first.

To help frame those decisions, I have developed a simple framework that builds off Professor Tom Eisenmann’s work on business model analysis for entrepreneurs to communicate the early strategic

Step One in my HBS LTV Course: figure out which are the most critical experiments to run
Step Two: figure out what organization to stand up to run those experiments in the most efficient fashion

Continue reading “Experiments Lead to Product-Market Fit”

The Rocket Ship List of Startups – 2019


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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New graduates should jump on board one of these high flying companies and go along for the ride

Graduating students hungry to dive into the startup community around the world (aka StartUpLand) often struggle to select the right, specific opportunity where they can productively start their career.

Each spring, I provide a comprehensive list of exciting, growing, hiring startups that are worthy of consideration as places to start or continue a career in StartUpLand. The criteria for being on the list is subjective but is a mix of fundraising (typically > $20m in the most recent round), scale (typically > 100 employees), momentum (typically growing users or revenue > 50%) and hiring (typically growing headcount > 20%, including a number of entry-level positions that would be a fit for recent college or business school graduates).

Before we get into the companies themselves, I suggest checking out two of my posts

Continue reading “The Rocket Ship List of Startups – 2019”

All About Applied AI


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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MITCoC-Panels-01_0

My partner, Chip Hazard, has been on a blogging tear lately on the topic of Applied AI.

We are pretty fired up about this theme here at Flybridge and Chip’s recent posts provide a nice outline as to why. His first post from a few weeks ago, Applied AI: Beyond The Algorithm, provides a description of how we think about next generation AI companies and the opportunities and challenges they face. Today’s post, the AI Paradox, gives a more detailed view on what we are internally referring to as “AAA grade” AI companies:  those that are focused on building Absorable, Applied AI. We are very bullish on this category of startups.

The kickoff last week of MIT’s billion-dollar new AI school, the Schwarzman College of Computing (pictured above), was a punctuation point in an ongoing arc of historical significance. We are entering an era where applied AI Continue reading “All About Applied AI”

How To Raise Your First Round of Capital


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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Every year, I do a talk at Harvard Business School regarding how to raise your first round of capital. In the past, folks have found the slides to be helpful, and so I am sharing them here. The longer version of this material is covered in my book, Mastering the VC Game (first chapter is free) and this teaching note on Raising Startup Capital. I hope they’re helpful!

 

 

Applied AI: Beyond The Algorithms


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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Great, thoughful post from my partner, Chip, on Applied AI.

Hazard Lights

One of the primary areas of focus for Flybridge over the years has been to be the first institutional investor behind companies looking to transform the enterprise technology landscape with modern software.  Given the explosion in the volume of data being generated globally, this theme has led to investments in companies such as MongoDB (databases) and Nasuni (storage) that operate at the data infrastructure layer of the enterprise tech stack.

More recently, we have been investing in further advances in data management, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.  While the potential for artificial intelligence has been written about extensively, what is less well understood is that the algorithms and underlying tools are only a fraction of the value and are unlikely to be a source of long-term differentiation.  Fully realizing the power of AI requires a deep understanding Continue reading “Applied AI: Beyond The Algorithms”

Don’t Abandon Lean Experimentation on the Blockchain


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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Image result for the hidden cost of icos

In my blockchain investment work (we have invested in six early-stage projects, including bloXroute, Enigma, FalconX, NEX and two stealth projects), I have been struck by the fact that decades of progress on applying the scientific method to entrepreneurship (e.g., experimental design, lean startup, design thinking), as well as decades of established governance modeled, are being effectively blown up by Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Steve Blank and Eric Ries popularized applying the scientific method to startups in an incisive fashion with the publishing of their books, Four Steps to the Epiphany and The Lean Startup, respectively. These became canons for entrepreneurs around the world as they embarked on the journey for product-market fit.

With blockchain startups raising over $5 billion in 2017 and over $12 billion through the first three quarters of 2018, it appears that this discipline of staged experimentation and fundraising is Continue reading “Don’t Abandon Lean Experimentation on the Blockchain”

Blockchains and Communities


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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We are big believers in community-building. We have invested heavily in it as a firm, contributing to the ecosystem in various ways that are consistent with our values (e.g., fostering diversity in tech, supporting women entrepreneurs and immigrant entrepreneurs). And we have invested heavily in it across our portfolio companies. Our insight a decade ago that developers were becoming the kings of IT led to a fruitful investment thesis, led by my partner Chip, around developer driven adoption and community building (as exemplified by our investments in MongoDB, Codecademy, Crashlytics and Firebase).

For the last few years, we have been applying this thesis to our investments in blockchain and crypto. Blockchain-based startups share many of the same characteristics as developer-driven startups. With these companies, sustainable competitive advantage is built through a loyal community of supporters who contribute to the project and feel ownership over its Continue reading “Blockchains and Communities”

The New Financing Playbook for Blockchain Startups


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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When I first wrote Mastering the VC Game, Satoshi Nakamoto had just issued his seminal Bitcoin white paper. At the time, no one could have imagined the transformative impact the invention of Bitcoin and the blockchain would have on the venture capital industry.

With the invention of Ethereum and a Turing-complete platform that allowed for smart contracts, startups could suddenly raise money ahead of delivering products from a crowd of investors, not just a universe of a few hundred venture capitalists. Last summer, I wrote about the impact Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) were having on the venture capital industry. This summer, I am amazed at how quickly the science of token-based fundraising has evolved and the hybrid of VC, crowdfunding and crypto token economics best practices that have emerged.

Last summer, one of my portfolio companies, Enigma, completed a $45 million ICO with only three employees and a Continue reading “The New Financing Playbook for Blockchain Startups”

The Search for Product Market Fit


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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Each year, I join my friend Ed Zimmerman (lawyer, super angel, wine enthusiast and raconteur) at his annual Venture Crush First Growth conference (fka First Growth Venture Network) to talk about product-market fit with early-stage entrepreneurs.

Each year, I try to think anew about the topic, reflecting on some of the lessons and research related to my entrepreneurship class at Harvard Business School.

Below is this year’s version, complete with a new framework for thinking about the three kinds of experiments all pre product-market fit startups must undergo: Consumer Value Proposition experiments, Go To Market experiments and Business Model experiments.

Feedback welcome!

 

The Rocket Ship Startup List: 2018


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




New graduate? Jump on board one of these high flying companies

Graduating students hungry to dive into the startup community (aka StartUpLand) often struggle to select the right, specific opportunity to start their career.

Each spring, I provide a comprehensive list of exciting, growing, hiring startups–both private or recently public–that are worthy of consideration as places to start or continue a career in StartupLand. The criteria for being on the list is subjective but is a mix of fundraising (typically > $10m in the most recent round), scale (typically > 50 employees), momentum (typically growing revenue or users > 50%) and hiring (typically > 10 open reqs, including a number of entry-level positions that would be a fit for recent college or business school graduates).

Before we get into the companies themselves, I suggest checking out my posts Getting Your First Startup Job and Are You Suited For A

Boston 2018 list v3
NY 2018 list v2
SF 2018 list v3
LA 2018 list v2

Continue reading “The Rocket Ship Startup List: 2018”

Dropbox S-1 Teardown


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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I love S-1s. I know I am weird but S-1s are loaded with great nuggets of insights about business models, company performance and have fascinating stories embedded in the sometimes turgid prose.

Dropbox has been one of my favorite startups for many years. I have taught a Stanford Business School case on Dropbox in my HBS class on Launching Technology Ventures for many years regarding their scaling their sales and marketing operation. We also teach an early stage case on Dropbox to all first year students at HBS. And a few of my former students joined the company early and became key executives over the years. So, when the Dropbox S-1 came out yesterday, I was excited to read through it and see what I could learn. To be clear, I am not an investor in the company and don’t own any shares (as far as I know!)

In

Continue reading “Dropbox S-1 Teardown”

How To Raise Your First Round of Capital


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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Last week, I delivered a presentation to Harvard Business School students on how to raise your first round of capital from angels and venture capitalists. The presentation is a derivation of my book (Mastering the VC Game) and my experience as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Enjoy!

 

Business Leaders Get Woke


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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oprah golden globes

Watching the Golden Globes last night, the message hit you like a two by four. Black dresses, biting jokes, poignant acceptance speeches — all hitting on the same set of themes. At one point in the evening, my teenage sons turned to me and my wife and asked innocently, “are they going to move on at some point from this activism thing?” No, guys. America is not ready to move on. Not even close.

This zeitgeist is proving very challenging for business leaders, who by and large prefer to remain nonpartisan and disengaged from politics. As The Economist recently observed, “The Trump era has made it harder for executives to stay above the fray.”

There are two separate but powerful forces coming together at this point in time driving this phenomenon. First, a recognition that great companies and great leaders are mission-driven, not just bottom line-driven.  Continue reading “Business Leaders Get Woke”

Your First Startup Job


This post is by bussgang from Seeing Both Sides


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EnteringStartUpLand_300dpi

When Julisa Salas told me she wanted to join a startup, I was worried. Her background was not exactly typical for StartUpLand and I was concerned her search would end in disappointment.

Julisa had been a liberal arts major (English Language and Literature) who secured her first job out of college at a large investment bank before returning to school for her MBA. Capable, smart and personable, she was also the type of candidate that most startups shy away from — no technical background, zero startup experience, and a young woman of color trying to break into an industry dominated by white men.

A few months later, Julisa emailed me with great news: she had landed a job at one of the hottest startups in the country, a fast-growing restaurant technology platform called Toast that had just raised $30 million in financing and would later go on to raise another

Continue reading “Your First Startup Job”

Getting Your First Startup Job


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




EnteringStartUpLand_300dpi.jpg

When Julisa Salas told me she wanted to join a startup, I was worried. Her background was not exactly typical for StartUpLand and I was concerned her search would end in disappointment.

Julisa had been a liberal arts major (English Language and Literature) who secured her first job out of college at a large investment bank before returning to school for her MBA. Capable, smart and personable, she was also the type of candidate that most startups shy away from — no technical background, zero startup experience, and a young woman of color trying to break into an industry dominated by white men.

A few months later, Julisa emailed me with great news: she had landed a job at one of the hottest startups in the country, a fast-growing restaurant technology platform called Toast that had just raised $30 million in financing and would later go on to raise another

Continue reading “Getting Your First Startup Job”

What Makes Boston’s Startup Scene Special?


This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES


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Every year, I present an overview of the Boston startup scene to incoming Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan students. Having refreshed the presentation once again and tried my best to update it such that it would contain the latest and greatest information, I am pleased to post it here. As always, I welcome any feedback or suggestions. My goal is to give an overview of all the amazing companies and support systems in one place so that students can easily navigate what otherwise might seem like an opaque, intimidating community.

Boston StartUp Scene

 

Enjoy!

 

The Summer of Initial Coin Offerings


This post is by bussgang from Seeing Both Sides


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Note: my blog has moved to www.seeingbothsides.com. Also, check out www.jeffbussgang.com to see my new book, Entering StartUpLand, which ships on October 10th.

Goldman Sachs and CB Insights recently reported that startups have raised over $1 billion in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) this summer — more than the total amount of venture capital raised during the same period.

At Flybridge, we are wading into this uncharted territory as a result of one of our portfolio companies, Enigma, staging an ICO in the coming weeks.

Many investors in the ecosystem that we respect have shared their thoughts on the power of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies to disrupt many industries (and we share those views) but few have discussed the downstream ramifications to our business. Hence, the purpose of this post.

I won’t attempt to provide all the contextual background regarding the blockchain, cryptocurrencies and why they represent such Continue reading “The Summer of Initial Coin Offerings”

Investing in Women Entrepreneurs


This post is by bussgang from Seeing Both Sides


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Flybridge is pleased to announce the creation of XFactor Ventures, a $3m women-focused micro-seed fund. You can read more about it here:

If you are interested in submitting a business plan, send us an email at https://www.xfactor.ventures/

To stay in touch with our work, follow us on twitter.

(BTW: my blog has moved to www.seeingbothsides.com)