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VCs Should Be Startup CEOs

VCs Should Be Startup CEOs | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Venture capitalists who are serious about turning their firms into more than one-fund wonders may want to have their associates actually start and run a company for a year.

Running a company is distinctly different from simply having operating experience (working in business development, sales or marketing). None of that can compare with being the CEO of a startup facing a rapidly diminishing bank account, your best engineer quitting, working until 10 p.m. then rushing to the airport to catch a redeye to close a deal with a customer, with your board demanding you do it faster.

Today, you can start a web-mobile-cloud startup for $500,000 and have money left over. Every potential early-stage venture capitalist should take a year and do it before he or she makes partner.

Here’s why.

Venture capital as a profession is less than half a century old. It is still very much a “craft” business.

Over time, venture firms realized that the firm’s partners need a variety of skills:

  • Deal-picking skills (recognizing the right combination of founder and market opportunity).
  • Rolodex-deal flow (deal-sourcing ability to make connections for the portfolio).
  • People skills (recognizing patterns of success in individuals and teams).
  • Board skills (startup coaching, mentoring, growth strategy, daily operations).
  • Market-technology acuity (domain expertise).
  • Fundraising skills.

Some of these skills are learned in school (finance), some are innate aptitudes (people skills), some are learned pattern-recognition skills (shadowing experienced partners, hard-won success and failures of their own), and some are learned by having operating experience. But none of them are substitutes for having started and run a company.

How to Become a VC
. Early-stage venture-capital firms grow their partnerships in different ways, some hire:

  • Partners from other firms.
  • Associates and put them on a career path that makes becoming a VC a profession not just a craft.
  • Venture-operating partners to get them into new industries.
  • An executive who had startup “operating experience.”
  • Rarely, a startup founder-CEO.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Food for thought

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Union Square Ventures founder, Fred Wilson, writes that blockchain technology will produce the next Google and Facebook - New York Business Journal

Union Square Ventures founder, Fred Wilson, writes that blockchain technology will produce the next Google and Facebook - New York Business Journal | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Fred Wilson says blockchain technology will create the next Google or Facebook. But in the end, the disruption could be to our entire economic system.


He wonders in not-so vague terms if the blockchain technology which underlies bitcoin, might actually mean an end to “network effects” that let bigger companies create better value for their customers, and more.


“Lately, we’ve been wondering if there is an end to this pattern on the Internet and mobile,” wrote Wilson, who in addition to being an investor in bitcoin exchange Coinbase, was an early investor in Twitter and Tumblr.


“We think it is possible that an open-data platform, in which users ultimately control their data and the networks they choose to participate in, could be the thing that undoes this pattern of winner takes most,” he writes.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

This #blockchain story is definitely unfolding and getting more and more interesting. Meanwhile in Europe...

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Infinity Local's curator insight, October 28, 2015 9:56 AM

He has a very interesting ambition. Let's see and wait.

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Say goodbye to accelerators and hello to IdeaMarket, Bill Gross' crowd-powered startup factory

Say goodbye to accelerators and hello to IdeaMarket, Bill Gross' crowd-powered startup factory | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

At this initial stage, IdeaMarket will award 5 percent equity in the nascent venture to the idea originator and 5 percent to members of the crowd who meaningfully improved the idea during the comment period. Initial investors, which may include IdeaMarket and/or IdeaLab, will get as much as 20 percent depending on the amount they invest and IdeaMarket will get “a small piece,” in Gross’ words, that will vary from deal to deal in return for facilitating this matchmaking process. Founding teams will therefore be left 60 to 70 percent of these companies, a fairly standard figure for accelerator-stage companies with some early angel investment.

It’s not unheard of for investors to publish problems or ideas that they’d like to back. Y Combinator’s Paul Graham famously published seven such “frighteningly ambitious startup ideas” in 2012, a list that includes the next great search engine and a replacement for traditional universities. Just last week, prolific angel investor Jason Calacanis wrote his tens of thousands of email subscribers to suggest a “Lord of the Flies, Battle Royale gauntlet” over fixing the market for residential real estate reviews. In perhaps the most spectacular example, last summer, Elon Musk published his initial designs for the Hyperloop, a ultra-high speed modern transportation system, and invited anyone with the ability and the inclination to take a crack at making it a reality.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

"Ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s execution that is everything" couldn't agree more with Bill Gross

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BlaBlaCar: meet the ‘idealists’ who are set to change how the world travels and raised a $100M Series C to execute it

BlaBlaCar: meet the ‘idealists’ who are set to change how the world travels and raised a $100M Series C to execute it | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Paris-based long-distance ride-sharing startup BlaBlaCar announced a $100 million Series C funding round led by Index Ventures today. As part of the round, Index’s Dominique Vidal and Martin Mignot will be joining the board. Here, Dominique and Martin explain why Index is so excited about what lies ahead for the company.

The best consumer companies tend to be the simplest. They do one thing particularly well. So well, in fact, that its customers soon take them for granted, and forget that they ever lived without them, and that the premise the company is based on, was once viewed as unthinkable, even slightly ridiculous. BlaBlaCar falls squarely into that category.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Interesting insight from the Index Venture post : "the need BlaBlaCar is addressing is not only universal, but also fundamental. Jeff Bezos has a great way of explaining how he thinks about Amazon's value proposition in the long run: "I very frequently get the question: 'What's going to change in the next 10 years?' And that is a very interesting question; it's a very common one. I almost never get the question: 'What's not going to change in the next 10 years?' And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two -- because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time."

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"Powerpoint Killer" Bunkr.me raises €1 Million from Xavier Niel, Daniel Marhely & IDInvest

"Powerpoint Killer" Bunkr.me raises €1 Million from Xavier Niel, Daniel Marhely & IDInvest | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Rouen-based startup Bunkr has raised €1 Million from IDInvest (led by Matthieu Baret), Daniel Mahrely & Xavier Niel for their collaborative online presentation tool. The company, whose launch we first covered in May 2013, has seen amazing traction in the last 12 months, growing in the first few months to over 35,000 users, thanks largely to their launch and branding as a “Powerpoint Killer” coinciding with Microsoft co-founder & CEO Steve Ballmer’s resignation announcement last year.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Congrats to the Bunkr team. Awaiting Keynote import and SlideShare export :-) And congrats to The Family for such acceleration.

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Accel Goes Big Into Big Data with Second $100M Fund

Accel Goes Big Into Big Data with Second $100M Fund | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Accel Partners, which has invested in Cloudera, Fusion-io and RelateIQ, is making a further big push into big data, as it announces the creation of a second fund focused on startups that are storing, analyzing and harnessing the power of data analytics.

The funding for the $100 million Big Data Fund 2 will come from Accel’s other investment vehicles worldwide, including Accel London IV, a new $475 million European and Israeli tech-focused fund that was announced in April.

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A "sex vs money" look at French Entrepreneurs Revolt

A "sex vs money" look at French Entrepreneurs Revolt | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Interesting cross-pond analysis of the "pigeons revolt" by Jean-Louis who writes that "Considering sex and money, Americans and French cultures exhibit truly polar opposite behaviors. The French see nothing wrong with a President having a wife, a mistress and a love child, they revel in sexual and often sexist jokes. But, if you ask someone how much they paid for their apartment, they’ll react as if you’d touched them in boundary-breaking ways. Conversely, they perceive us Americans as demonizing sex — think a past President and his “oral” office — while being obscene with money."
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La chaine de financement de l’innovation n’est pas prête à générer un Facebook français … par Jean-David Chamboredon - Chronique e-Business

La chaine de financement de l’innovation n’est pas prête à générer un Facebook français … par Jean-David Chamboredon - Chronique e-Business | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Avec l'entrée en Bourse de Facebook, et sa capitalisation supérieure à $100bn, une question est sur toutes les lèvres : « à quand un Facebook français ? ». La réponse est simple: ce n’est pas pour demain, voire même jamais si nous ne créons pas vite un écosystème favorable.
Belle analyse de Jean-David CHAMBOREDON, toujours aussi pertinent...
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Blockstream Raises $55 Million to Build Out Bitcoin’s Blockchain

Blockstream Raises $55 Million to Build Out Bitcoin’s Blockchain | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Blockstream has raised $55m in Series A funding to continue its work expanding the bitcoin code base for commercial use.

With the news, Blockstream's total funding rises to $76m over two investment rounds. To date, the company's signature technology has been its sidechains offering, currently in testing, which enables the creation of blockchains that can validate data from, and transfer assets to, other blockchains.

Blockstream’s round was led by venture capital firms AXA Strategic Ventures, the venture capital arm of French multinational insurance firm AXA Group; Digital Garage, the Tokyo-based online payments firm co-founded by Joi Ito; and Hong Kong venture capital firm Horizons Ventures.

AME Cloud Ventures, Blockchain Capital and Future\Perfect Ventures were among other investment firms that participated in the deal.

Given the recent interest in private and permissioned blockchains, Blockstream sought to underscore the versatility of its technology as well as its early efforts to bring added functionality to the bitcoin network through interoperable blockchains.

Blockstream CEO Austin Hill told CoinDesk:

"We were one of the first companies that painted a vision for interoperable blockchains, that there wasn’t going to be one blockchain, but many of them, all building off the bitcoin codebase to deliver the technology."

Still, Hill said the company remains dedicated to developing technology for the open-source bitcoin blockchain, which it called the "most mature, well-tested and secure" infrastructure for blockchain services.

"What we would hate to see happen is the most robust and secure blockchain protocol getting left by the wayside if people moved on to different protocols and tech stacks that bitcoin isn’t designed for," Hill continued, adding:

"We believe there is a benefit to society to have all these blockchains be interoperable."
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Interesting as :

1/ Money continues to flow towards decentralized consensus companies (disclosure : AXA is one of CDC Blockchain Initiative member)

2/ Corporates intensify their presence in either projects or investments

3/ The debate between the Bitcoin Blockchain and other Blockchains is far for being closed despite what consultants or half journalist try to explain

So in-between, let's experiment further ! And together.

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Philippe J DEWOST's curator insight, February 16, 9:05 AM

Interesting as :

1/ Money continues to flow towards decentralized consensus companies (disclosure : AXA is one of CDC Blockchain Initiative member)

2/ Corporates intensify their presence in either projects or investments

3/ The debate between the Bitcoin Blockchain and other Blockchains is far for being closed despite what consultants or half journalist try to explain

So in-between, let's experiment further ! And together.

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How Europe is producing ‘super startups’

How Europe is producing ‘super startups’ | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

U.S. startups have traditionally had access to far higher levels of investment, giving them a head start when it comes to research and development and making it easier to attract to its shores the very best talent.

Yet the arms race is becoming closer. According to Dow-Jones VentureSource, the second quarter of 2014 saw over €2.1 billion ($2.4 billion at the current conversion rate) raised by European startups — the highest quarterly total since 2001. (For comparison’s sake, the figure for U.S.-based startups in that period was $13.8 billion.)

Encouraged by the success of European tech firms such as Shazam and Transferwise — both of which made valuations of billion dollars in early 2015 — more U.S. money is crossing the pond.

There is also an increasing confidence in investors that Europe has the talent pool to thrive, and there has not been an irreparable “brain drain” to Silicon Valley.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Excellent post by @codordog ; @blablacar or @sigfox are the most recent "super startups" within @LaFrenchTech

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The Revival Of Semiconductor Funding

The Revival Of Semiconductor Funding | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Over the past few years the semiconductor funding ecosystem experienced a downturn. According to the GSA survey, there were only five Series A semiconductor funding rounds and 10 exits in 2010 in North America, Europe and Israel. Most of the VCs who invested in semiconductors shifted their focus to software startups due to higher scalability, faster time-to-exit and low cost of failure.

However, I believe semiconductor funding hit bottom in 2013, and it is slowly coming back. I analyzed publicly available transaction data from CrunchBase and discovered promising insights about recent funding trends.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

I'm not dead... I'm getting better #MontyPython #HolyGrail #HardwareIsNotDead #OCP

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A date with Destin: Q&A with Accel’s new Europe tech VC partner - Digits - WSJ

A date with Destin: Q&A with Accel’s new Europe tech VC partner - Digits - WSJ | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Fred Destin has had a big 24 hours. The tech investor said Wednesday he would jump firms, from Atlas Venture in the U.S. to Accel Partners' London office. On Thursday morning, one of his leading investments for Atlas, UK-property listing site Zoopla, announced it would go public.  

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Good news for Fred, for Accel and for the European start-up scene  including LaFrenchTech. Fred has been a great board member at RealEyes3d even in tough times, looking forward to have coffee in Paris any time soon.

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Scoop.it Raises $2.6 Million & Appoints New Executive

Scoop.it Raises $2.6 Million & Appoints New Executive | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Scoop.it, a leading social curation publishing hub, today announced it has raised $2.6 million. Visited by more than 75 million people worldwide in just 18 months since its launch in 2011, Scoop.it's success has led to the appointment of a new executive, Andrew Federici, as vice president of monetization to increase Scoop.it's growing base of paid customers.

 

Scoop.it pivoted two and a half years ago from an application mobile technology called Goojet, which received the initial funding of a seed and partial Series A round. Altogether, Goojet and Scoop.it have raised $13.6 million including the recent addition of$2.6 million from Partech International, Elaia Partners, IXO Private Equity and Orkos Capital.

 

"Since launch 18 months ago, we have seen our user traction grow on our platform and freemium services," said Scoop.it co-founder and CEO, Guillaume Decugis. "We felt it was time to accelerate the delivery of value-added premium features to our paid users, and we hired Andrew Federici because of his expertise in product monetization and his impressive media background."

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

A nice funding round for a nice startup with a very useful product !

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Larry's comment, July 31, 2013 1:57 AM
2,6million$ ? What do they lack to make a profitable autonomous company ?
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The secret algorithm one VC firm uses to pick entrepreneurs

The secret algorithm one VC firm uses to pick entrepreneurs | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Every VC firm has its own way of evaluating potential investments. Remmy Oxley, an anonymous VC, says that Moneyball-style methods are the next step, and reveals his firm's algorithm for screening candidates.
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Venture Capital Secret: 3 of 4 Start-Ups Fail

Venture Capital Secret: 3 of 4 Start-Ups Fail | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Of the 6,613 U.S.-based companies initially funded by venture capital between 2006 and 2011, 84% now are closely held and operating independently, 11% were acquired or made initial public offerings of stock and 4% went out of business, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Less than 1% are currently in IPO registration.

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Technocom 2 : un deuxième investissement pour le FNA

Technocom 2 : un deuxième investissement pour le FNA | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Dans le cadre du Programme d’investissements d’avenir (PIA), le FNA été mis en place pour soutenir les entreprises qui développent des innovations technologiques en leur apportant des fonds propres à un stade très précoce. Doté de 400 M€, le FNA réalise des investissements dans des fonds d’amorçage gérés par des équipes de gestion professionnelles et qui réalisent eux-mêmes des investissements dans de jeunes entreprises innovantes en phases d’amorçage et de démarrage. Il ne finance pas directement des entreprises

Technocom 2, doté de plus de 30 M€ à l’issue de ces engagements, financera pour des montants allant de quelques centaines de milliers à plusieurs millions d’euros des créations d’entreprises issues de la recherche publique, académique ou industrielle française, dans les technologies numériques appliquées aux réseaux, à l’énergie, à la maison intelligente et à la santé. Technocom 2 prévoit de financer et d’accompagner une quinzaine de jeunes entreprises à fort potentiel de croissance.
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