How to raise money in 2016, why your round has been open for four months and how investors decide to invest in your company.

Happy Saturday.

I’m on the move again. I left Fargo, ND on Friday night (after a solid tech tour week), spent the night just outside Theodore Roosevelt National Forest (uh, that place is gorgeous — check it out on Snapchat before it disappears), dropped the Airstream off in Bozeman, MT today and am en route to DC tonight. I’ll be hanging at Metabridge in Kelowna, BC next week (*cough* I’m parking the Airstream next to a helicopter *cough*) and I hope to see you there.

I’m giving away an Amazon Echo for free. You’re already reading this newsletter, so there’s no catch. Head over here and enter to win. Here’s that URL for you once again:

One observation after spending the week in Fargo & Grand Forks, ND: the drone industry is saturated with hardcore technologists that want to build cool drones OR forward-looking pilots that just want to fly more stuff. Where are the hustlers that want to actually build a venture-scale business? Discuss.

1. “appears to be just another Honda Civic driving for Lyft—until you notice it has Congressional license plates.” [Link] [Tweet]

It was only a matter of time before someone in a politician’s family tried to use license plates with special privileges while they made some extra money on the side. I’m surprised this didn’t get more coverage in DC’s local news.

2. “The older I get, the less sure of myself I become. Certainty, it seems, diminishes with age.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m not a fan of long reads but this one’s good. I love that he’s found a way to integrate his personal and professional lives so completely — while also giving Geraldine all the credit she deserves along the way too.

3. “make sure you aren’t opening up a sweatshop in the middle of the country.” [Link] [Tweet]

Has anyone publicly been tracking tech companies that have opened new offices in other cities and tried to identify the types of jobs they’re creating in those new cities? (Off the top of my head, I recall Uber opening an engineering-heavy office in Pittsburgh and Vaynermedia opening some sort of new office in Chattanooga…)

4“Raise now. Be humble. Build something great. Don’t worry.” [Link] [Tweet]

Ignore the advice (for now) and spend a few minutes trying to understand all the moving pieces in the venture world. Whether you like it or not (and whether you raise money or not), it affects you.

5. “if the only thing that keeps you going is success still out of grasp you’re gonna hit a wall at some point.” [Link] [Tweet]

Yep, I hit this wall last year — it was rough. Not gonna let that happen again.

6. “The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments.” [Link[Tweet]

Interesting: “the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.”

It seems that the costs of education are rising because more people than ever are choosing to go to college and college institutions are increasing their administrations (as opposed to their faculty) in size and pay. Am I reading that right?

7. “You are wasting your time because you aren’t prepared and the timing is likely off.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you know anyone that’s been trying to raise their round for more than two months without a single closing, please tell them to stop. Now. (You wouldn’t believe how often I meet founders around North America that have had their rounds open for 4+ months with $0 coming in the door.)

8. “Pick your investors correctly.  Don’t pitch larger seed stage venture funds.” [Link] [Tweet]

Again: founders need to spend more time understanding how the money going into the venture industry works. Given how transparent the venture industry has become, I still can’t believe how often I meet founders on the tech tour that still view investors as some sort of bank.

9. “it’s the best way I can describe my early-stage investments.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m stealing the “mission-driven, commercially-focused” line from this one — it’s perfect.

10. “The power law that benefits old TV media, however, will make its downfall that much more dramatic.” [Link] [Tweet]

The key lesson here: it takes a long time to build something new and an incredibly short amount of time to destroy something old. Incumbents beware.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me in the Brain Trust, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!