And hello from I-81S today, en route to Knoxville for the week. I’ve spent the last ~2 weeks trying to catch up on the backlog of emails and new investments. Now it’s time to get back in the saddle…
The investor-founder relationship is full of asymmetries.
The founder sees her own deal while the investor sees hundreds of deals (sometimes per month). The founder is pushing their own deal along while the investor tries to keep up with previous investments while pushing new ones through. You get the point.
The art of the follow-up is tricky. For founders trying to gain (or re-gain) the attention of investors, you need to create FOMO and greed without being pushy, needy or worse. (Easy, right?)
If you walk into a VC meeting without knowing the size of their latest fund, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Businesses return funds, not ideas.
If you’re convinced that you can’t build a business without getting an investor onboard, you’ve clearly been reading the wrong things.
Venture capital is a tool, not a milestone, for all businesses.
Defining traction is hard because every business is different. In the context of VC, it’s important to recognize that the rate of traction increase is the most important thing.
If there was a list of things I’ve been thinking but haven’t had the chance to write about, this would be it.
Having driven nearly 25,000 miles around the US and Canada this year (with another ~5,000 to go before the end of the year), there’s no doubt that the number of startups — especially fundable ones — is increasing everywhere. Sure, there’s a lot of noise to deal with as an investor but that’s part of the gig regardless of where you’re based.
I’m not sure that every other investor is going to be willing to buy a RV and drive around but I do think we’ll see more VC firms sending associates and venture partners out to demo days and tech events throughout the Midwest over the next 3-5 years.
Note: if you run an accelerator, manage a fund or are an active angel investor anywhere in the Midwest, your goal ought to be to become the most visible investor within a ~500 mile radius. Don’t worry about your home town or backyard.
OK, first things first, I have an iPhone 6 Plus and I think I’m going to keep it for now. #oldschool
We’ve got an Amazon Echo in the Airstream (and one in the apartment back in DC). Alexa isn’t perfect but, compared to Siri, she’s wayyyyyy better/smarter/faster.
I find the current version of Siri, as compared to Alexa, to be frustrating to use. Half the time I use Siri with my iPhone or Apple TV, she doesn’t understand the request. The rest of the time, the lag is so annoying that I choose not to use Siri at all.
I agree with the idea that AirPods may be the first “mainstream” product that could push us into voice computing but Apple’s got a long way to go with Siri.
Sometimes I get the impression that founders think that raising money is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Or saying the right thing to the right investor. Or something else related to luck.
Raising money is a process. And, like any process, it requires a funnel. If you want to raise money, you better be ready to talk to a lot of people along the way.
Having made this mistake in my own companies in the past: keep your team small and your burn rate ultra-low until you find PMF.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ll never have true job security unless you think of yourself as an entrepreneur rather than an employee, manager or whatever other title you might have currently.