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7 Signs You’re Fundraising Too Early

7 Signs You’re Fundraising Too Early | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Perhaps it’s the new ”American dream” of scaling like Zuckerberg or selling like Systrom, but every entrepreneur seems to think that if they’re going to make it big, they have to raise money asap.

The amount of money you raise has become associated with your perceived success, credibility, respect in the valley… as if you have to raise money to be legit.

As a result, way too many startups are raising money way too early.

I know this to be true, because I’ve been one of those people.

This past summer we spent about 3 months of our time trying to raise money. We weren’t successful. The truth is, it was too early to be fundraising. I know that in hindsight, but at the time I convinced myself otherwise.

We had taken $50,000 to join the 500 Startups accelerator which is built to help you fundraise and grow. After a couple pivots we still hadn’t figured out our product-market-team fit yet but figured if we could play the fundraising game right, we could still raise our round. Hell, we got into 500 because they liked our team, who’s to say we couldn’t get other investors on board?

That’s the story that’s told so often. You have to pitch 100 investors before one says yes, then the other investors you spoke with will want to get in as well. You have to create the perception that they’re going to miss out on a deal and that time is limited. If you know how to talk to investors with confidence and create the perception of demand, you’ll raise your round.

We bought into that idea…all in.

Continue reading... click on the title of the article.


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Via Guillaume Decugis, Marc Kneepkens
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

If you are serious about succeeding with your Startup, including Fundraising, building a great company, and exiting that company when the time is right, take a look at this video. This is Startup School at its best!




Why are you doing this? Why are you an entrepreneur? Watch this video! https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/gic/gt4045/


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Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, December 13, 2013 2:17 AM

I'd say this is debatable as raising early can also give you a lot of options. Sometimes though you don't have that luxury and this post is worth reading for the signs it describes that your startup might not be VC-ready. If that's the case, hyper focusing in fundraising is a sure way to fail. Money can come from customers too...

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 13, 2013 5:19 PM

Get ready first, the more ready you are, the easier money will follow.

This is a great article from a real entrepreneur. Great read, but don't just read, apply his conclusions to your fundraising.

Better even, take a look at the video 'Why are you doing this?' right above this window.

Lori Wilk's curator insight, December 15, 2013 11:50 AM

As we launch, we want to build on a structure and a solid foundation, most of us have lots to learn.

Venture Capital Stories
Whether it's  Silicon Valley or Boston, it's a world of millionaires and billionaires, the domain of the happy few.
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As More Tech Start-Ups Stay Private, So Does the Money - NY Times

As More Tech Start-Ups Stay Private, So Does the Money - NY Times | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

By Farhad Manjoo.


Fledgling companies are increasingly delaying initial public offerings of stock, which can keep the risks — and rewards — limited to venture capitalists and hedge funds.

Not long ago, if you were a young, brash technologist with a world-conquering start-up idea, there was a good chance you spent much of your waking life working toward a single business milestone: taking your company public.Though luminaries of the tech industry have always expressed skepticism and even hostility toward the finance industry, tech’s dirty secret was that it looked to Wall Street and the ritual of a public offering for affirmation — not to mention wealth.But something strange has happened in the last couple of years: The initial public offering of stock has become déclassé. For start-up entrepreneurs and their employees across Silicon Valley, an initial public offering is no longer a main goal. Instead, many founders talk about going public as a necessary evil to be postponed as long as possible because it comes with more problems than benefits. Read more, click image or title.



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This is not a typo: Only 3% of Americans are legally allowed to invest in start-ups

This is not a typo: Only 3% of Americans are legally allowed to invest in start-ups | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
And they dictate the products and services that the rest of us consume.

Of the richest venture capitalists, all are worth more than $1 billion, and all are men. The majority of these have invested in Groupon, LinkedIn, Skype, YouTube, Paypal, Facebook and others. Chances are, you are legally barred from joining their exclusive investors’ club.

More than 97% of Americans cannot invest in the latest startups, nor profit from their meteoric rises. For example, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo and Rockethub do not allow “supporters” to own part of the organizations featured on the site, even though their donations are financial investments in those advertising funds or projects. That’s why most crowd funding platforms reward their supporters with goodies (a first run of a manufactured product, say, or thank you cards.).

Under US law, only “accredited investors” are legally allowed to invest and own a stake in a start-up. Read more: click image or title.





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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Make your vote count. Democracy can still change certain situations and laws.

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US tech funding

I spent some time in the last few weeks with my colleagues Morgan Bender
and Scott Kupor going through the state and history of US tech funding.
It's pretty easy to point out that the current situation bears little
resemblance to 1999 or 2000. This time it's different. But then, it's
always different - what's going on now? 

To see the Slideshare presentation, click on the title.





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The state of VC and Tech funding. Are we in a Tech bubble? This Slideshare presentation brings clarity to the numbers.

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What are some of the patterns of success VCs look at when funding startups (please see details)? - Quora

Jason M. Lemkin, Managing Director @ Storm Ventures. C... (more)
87 upvotes by Marc Bodnick (Co-Founder, Elevation Partners), Michael Wolfe (Founder & Entrepreneur -- Vontu, Kana, I/PRO, P... (more) ), Gleb Koshulko, John Phileas, (more)
You are supposed to look at a lot of those things.  I don't really look at any.

My 3 criteria:
  • Better founder CEO than me. This means more aggressive, smarter, more driven, more visionary -- adjusted for time and knowledge.  Although I don't care about accelerators per se, YC does seem to align well here as a partial filter for this criterion, and 500 Start-ups seems to be getting there now too. 
  • Better-than-average unit economics.  This sort of controls for market size, market, scaling costs, and a lot more.  If you are killing yourself managing an inside sales team to close $2k deals, and it will never get any better than that, then ... even if your MRR growth is strong ... I'm out.  I prefer companies that just can get a little farther on the same amount of sales & marketing effort.  It's just too hard otherwise.  I want to invest in companies that have a shot at scaling easier and faster than I did.
  • Pointed in a vaguely good / hot / OR important direction.  If you are doing something important / hot / interesting, you'll have easier access to capital and employees.  Because the Next VC and the Next VP do sort of want to work at something that Could Be Hot.  The subject matter can be boring (that's not the issue), the market can be old-school, but I have to be able to see it's something that will be important 1, 2 and 5 years out.  Low-multiple spaces are not of interest.

That's it for me.  Read more answers on Quora, click title above.


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- Venus Williams, Professional Tennis Player and CEO, V Starr Interiors.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's good to read some answers on Quora once in a while. There are some very wise people telling you about their experiences.

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Who Funds the Future?

Who Funds the Future? | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Inside Andreessen Horowitz, one of the most powerful venture-capital firms in Silicon Valley.

On a bright October morning, Suhail Doshi drove to Silicon Valley in his parents’ Honda Civic, carrying a laptop with a twelve-slide presentation that was surely worth at least fifty million dollars. Doshi, the twenty-six-year-old C.E.O. of a data-analytics startup called Mixpanel, had come from San Francisco to Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, where many of the world’s most prestigious venture-capital firms cluster, to pitch Andreessen Horowitz, the road’s newest and most unusual firm. Inside the offices, he stood at the head of a massive beechwood conference table to address the firm’s deal team and its seven general partners—the men who venture the money, take a seat on the board, and fire the entrepreneur if things go wrong. Read more: click on image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Want to know what makes #VC 's tick? Here's a very detailed portrait of a VC firm: Andreessen Horowitz. How do they think? Where do they come from? How do they relate? What are they looking for? How do they grill you? 

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Valuation As A Scorecard – AVC

The message of this post is don’t let yourself get sucked into a world where a number is your measure of self worth. Because you don’t control that number. The market does. And some days the market is your friend and other days it is most decidedly not your friend.

Measure yourself on whether your employees are happy. Measure yourself on whether your customers are happy. Measure yourself on how much free cash flow your business is generating. Measure yourself on how your brand is known and appreciated around the world. Measure yourself on how your spouse and children feel about you when you come home from work each day. You control all of those things, at least to some degree.

But please don’t measure yourself on valuation. It might make you feel good today. But it won’t make you feel good every day.

Read more: click on the title of this article.





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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Fred Wilson's rant about valuation. I copied the conclusion of the post here, because it's more important than anything else he's saying here. Scorecards are what they are, just scorecards, not reality. Did the kid who had the best scorecard in high school create the best business? Most likely not.

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Sneaky Questions Early-Stage VCs Ask Founders

Sneaky Questions Early-Stage VCs Ask Founders | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

During conversations with VCs, entrepreneurs will often encounter a few sneaky questions that have nothing to do with their actual businesses today. Many of these are attempts by investors to learn something specific that they don’t want to ask directly, and there’s usually some kind of hidden meaning behind a given question. Some VCs may just be fishing for more information, but many are looking for specific “right” answers.

It’s a funny dance, and while experienced entrepreneurs know what’s going on and how to respond, these questions can easily trip up a founder going through the fundraise process for the first time.

Below are some examples and suggested responses. Of course, it’s always best to be honest and authentic, so this is not a proposed script so much as additional context to incorporate into your own thinking. Read more: click on title or image.



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Dave....
I downloaded your business plan template ...It is  great!!! we have a successful delivery service already running today ...This plan is for a new liquor store idea ...my tax consultants say your plan is amazing..Thanks Dave!!!
Aja Noyes
Shift Gear Deliveries

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Anticipating the questions from your investors (VC's in this article) will create a huge advantage in your funding process. Understand what they are looking for and what their questions mean.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, April 29, 9:21 AM

Dealing with VC's is quite a challenge. They see many startups and only pick the most promising for another conversation. The questions they ask are like probes going into your sense of doing business. Everything you say tells them a story. Since they do this for a living they are very well versed in asking the right questions. You need to find the right answers. This article explains some of their thought processes.

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Bringing depression out of the shadows in startups - Venturebeat

Bringing depression out of the shadows in startups - Venturebeat | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

By Brad Feld

http://snip.ly/Bl5r

How common is the issue of depression in the startup world?

I’ve been very open about my struggles with depression over the years. A few weeks ago, I participated in a Q&A with Greg Avery at the Denver Business Journal titled Brad Feld Q&A: Bringing depression out of the shadows in startups. It was part of a more extensive series on depression, entrepreneurs, and startups.

Since I’m still getting emails about it, I thought I’d republish the Q&A here.

Q: How common is the issue of depression in the startup world?

A: Very common, although it is rarely discussed. While the line between stress, deep anxiety, and depression often blurs, most entrepreneurs struggle with broad mental health issues at various points in their lives.

Read more: http://snip.ly/Bl5r

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Brad Feld's open talk about depression addresses this issue in a deeply honest way. With all the failures and struggles in the startup world this must be a very common issue.

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15 of the fastest growing B2B startups - Business Insider

15 of the fastest growing B2B startups - Business Insider | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/F8Su


The fastest growing startups that we should be hearing about next.


By now, startups like Slack, MongoDB, Cloudera, Pure Storage are well known for their fast-growing businesses.

But we wondered: Who are the fastest-growing startups in the world that serve businesses, that we should be hearing about next (i.e. enterprise startups)?

That's a loaded question, we know. It all depends on your definition of "fastest growing." Startups are private companies that don't have to release their revenue numbers, so we couldn't measure them that way.

We turned to PitchBook Data, a company that monitors the public records of venture and private equity funding, to help us.

Read more about the 15 startups here:  http://snip.ly/F8Su




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Rather than the typical client/vendor relationship I'm used to, Growthink has been more like a strategic partner and trusted advisor. Not only did they provide me with a dynamic business plan but they have given me invaluable advice and feedback along the way. They have exceeded my expectations in every way possible during this exciting but uncertain time of starting & ultimately growing my business.  
- Jerry D. Erickson, President/CEO

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good to see what kind of startups are coming into visibility next and what kind of products/services they are offering. The article also provides funding amounts so far.

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Planet Labs Rockets To $118 Million In Series C Funding To Cover The Earth In Tiny Satellites | TechCrunch

Planet Labs Rockets To $118 Million In Series C Funding To Cover The Earth In Tiny Satellites  |  TechCrunch | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/uzGa

Planet Labs, a startup that has pledged to cover the Earth in tiny satellites, announced the close of $118 million in Series C funding today. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a division of the World Bank led this latest round, exceeding the expected amount of $95 million.

Global head of venture capital at IFC Nikunj Jinsi said of the investment on Planet Labs’ blog that this was an “important tool for economic development and disaster risk response.” He further went on to say that, “IFC’s investment will help ensure more companies and communities in developing countries have the information they need to grow in a smart and sustainable way.”

More details: http://snip.ly/uzGa




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I appreciate beyond measure all the information you provide - so many inside tips, w/o which I wouldn't have access to. There is so much to consider, and I've passed this particular email along to others for their respective ideas, and the foundation on which they may be built.
I like the style of presentation, the breadth of information given, and the myriad ways to apply the information. Great stuff - thanks so much!!
TL Elliott

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Internet access to every corner of the planet is a great priority. Good to see the IFC contribute.

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12 African Startups to Watch in 2015

12 African Startups to Watch in 2015 | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Twelve startups in East Africa aim to scale their ventures to collectively improve the lives of 12 million people. They have bold visions, but face tough odds.

Working across diverse industries—agriculture, health, transportation, energy, water and financial inclusion—they have bold visions, but face tough odds. The Unreasonable East Africa Institute, based in Kampala, Uganda, exists to give them an “unreasonable advantage” to tackle the region’s most pressing problems. With 78 percent of the Ugandan population under 30 years of age, the emerging private sector—built by these companies—stands to benefit a youthful nation primed to engage with new and innovative ways of living.

Their businesses are creating new economies which builds hope for a bright future in the face of all the obstacles that we currently face.

“While we still face many challenges in East Africa, these entrepreneurs are piloting and implementing models to tackle these challenges head on,” says Joachim Ewechu, CEO and Co-Founder of Unreasonable East Africa. “Their businesses are creating new economies which builds hope for a bright future in the face of all the obstacles that we currently face.”

Kate Hanford, COO at Unreasonable East Africa, shares with us the Unreasonable East Africa fellows—four from Uganda, six from Kenya and one from Tanzania and South Sudan—to keep your eyes on in 2015:

Read more: click on title or image.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Africa is a huge continent and its economies are growing fast. Smart entrepreneurs are making a difference there and changing life for its growing populations.

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Emily and Kevria's curator insight, April 8, 10:41 PM

Economy: this article fits into this category because it talks about how they are taking risky new routes to help improve the lives of 12 million people. They hope to benefit a youthful nation primed to engage with new and innovative ways of living. Even though Africa is facing many challenges they are trying new aye to tackle these challenges. Lastly, their businesses are creating new economies which help builds hope for a bright feature in the face of all the obstacles that they currently face. 

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Inventions and innovations that change the world; Curiosity, knowledge, educational articles; learning opportunities...
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Global investment in renewable energy hit US$270B in 2014, says UN report - Canadian Manufacturing

Global investment in renewable energy hit US$270B in 2014, says UN report - Canadian Manufacturing | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Despite the increase, the report warns that renewables still face some challenges

FRANKFURT and NAIROBI—The annual United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on global investments in renewables shows a 17 per cent increase in 2014.

$270 billion was invested in renewables in 2014, and the majority of funds went to solar and wind projects.

The increase follows two years of decline, and was able to overcome the lower price of crude oil in the second half of the year, which was expected to pose a challenge.

The smaller investment figures in 2012 and 2013 were partly attributed to lower prices for renewables, caused by economies of scale. The price for solar and wind technologies continued to decline in 2014, so the money invested resulted in significantly more capacity. The power generating capacity added by renewables last year amounts to 103 gigawatts—equal to the total capacity of the USA’s 158 nuclear plants.

“Renewables made up nearly half of the net power capacity added worldwide” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP. “These climate-friendly energy technologies are now an indispensable component of the global energy mix and their importance will only increase as markets mature, technology prices continue to fall and the need to rein in carbon emissions becomes ever more urgent.”

Despite the increase, the report warns that renewables still face some challenges. Among them are structural issues that stem from the variability of solar and wind power generation. In many countries, electricity grids have trouble coping with the 25% variability caused by dependence on sunlight and breeze.

The report was prepared by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Udo Steffens, President of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, said another challenge for renewables is investor uncertainty of continued government support.
“Southern Europe is still almost a no-go area for investors because of retroactive policy changes, most recently those affecting solar farms in Italy. In the US there is uncertainty over the future of the Production Tax Credit for wind, but costs are now so low that the sector is more insulated than in the past.”

The report concludes that if current trends continue, the electricity market requires major reforms to keep up with the success of renewables. Since 2004, over $2 trillion has been invested in renewables globally.



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Growthink took our ideas and put them into a business plan that fit with our objectives. They also gave us ideas on how to better our strategies and streamline our procedures.
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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The challenges seem to be endless, but innovation and persistence keeps renewable energy growing.

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In Silicon Valley Frenzy, VCs Create New Inside Track - WSJ

In Silicon Valley Frenzy, VCs Create New Inside Track - WSJ | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/V98n

Venture-capital firms, such as Andreessen Horowitz and FirstMark Capital, are taking advantage of soaring values for tech startups by creating impromptu funds that take a direct stake in a single startup.

These funds, which often come together in a matter of days, give institutional investors, friends and business associates exclusive access to highflying companies. The funds also let the venture capitalists invest far more money in a company than they otherwise could. In many cases, the funds are blessed by the startups, which see them as a way to raise big sums quickly.

hile the investments are usually billed as exclusive, can’t-miss opportunities, the funds aren't without risk. Their investors—which include fund of funds, family offices and pension funds—are usually offered limited financial information about the companies. They are also charged a performance fee that is typically about 20% of any investment profits on top of already rich prices.

Read more: http://snip.ly/V98n





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Hey Dave,
Your BP template help me achieve the goals I've been trying for 5 years. The template led me to produce an effective tool to attract the investors I need.
Thanks
Robert

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Exclusive funding opportunities for startups sounds against all principles of fair trading. The happy few will always find ways to beat the crowd. They may get burned though, these ventures contain a lot of risk.

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There’s a dark side to startups, and it haunts 30% of the world’s most brilliant people

There’s a dark side to startups, and it haunts 30% of the world’s most brilliant people | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Tech entrepreneurs are struggling with depression in secret. Here's how some in the industry want to change that.

The smile on Austen Heinz's face was unguarded and brief. It was the involuntary, small upturn of the corners the mouth that escapes when something genuinely makes you happy.

For Heinz, it was seeing the surfers at Del Mar. He raised his phone to snap a photo for a friend.

Mike Alfred saw the grin on his face, so he took his own photo of his friend's happiness.

Heinz’s long, curly brown hair is whipping back in the wind secured only by a green San Francisco hat. A black North Face vest, one he’s wearing in most photographs, covers his dress shirt.

“He smiled for a brief moment, and it was so beautiful,” Alfred said. "That's the last picture I have of him smiling."

Heinz’s love of surfing with his sister, Jean, would be noted in his obituary, published a month later.

The founder and CEO of Cambrian Genomics took his own life May 24, two weeks after the trip to Del Mar. He was 31.

When news slowly spread on Twitter that Heinz had died by suicide, many were crushed and surprised.

"That was a reminder to me that you can’t predict which founders are struggling," said Y Combinator president Sam Altman. Read more: click image or title.





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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's not all unicorns and billions of dollars... there is a lot of struggle and failure. Be careful. Read this article and be prepared.

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Why Serena Williams, Andreessen Horowitz are investing in this company that sells hair — yes, hair

Why Serena Williams, Andreessen Horowitz are investing in this company that sells hair — yes, hair | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Serena Williams and Andreessen Horowitz have both invested in Mayvenn's idea of empowering hair stylists to sell hair.

Hair is a $5 billion market in the United States. Market research from Mintel estimates six out of 10 black women wear a weave or a wig. 

But when Diishan Imira looked at the supply chain of how hair gets into a stylist's hands, he realized it was a complete mess.

"Basically, women in India sell their hair to buyers from China, who treat and package it, then sell it to primarily Korean distributors.

Those distributors sell to Korean-owned beauty supply shops in the U.S., who then sell it to primarily African American women," explained Ben Horowitz in a blog post, an investor from Andreessen Horowitz, who is leading a $10 million investment round in Imira's company, Mayvenn. Read more, click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Startups like this one deserve to receive money from the VC industry and celebrities like Serena Williams. They empower the small middleman and produce a better priced product for the consumer. Great idea, and great execution.

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Intel Corporation (INTC) To Invest $125 Million In Women, Minority-Led Startups

Intel Corporation (INTC) To Invest $125 Million In Women, Minority-Led Startups | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

The semiconductor manufacturer pledges $125 million for startups that back women and minorities, in order to diversify the technology industy.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has created a record $125 million worth of venture fund to support startups that back women and minorities. The fund, dubbed Intel Capital Diversity Fund, is part of a broader initiative to promote diversity at the company and in the notoriously male-dominated technology world as a whole.

The fund is to put its money in fast-growing startups and entrepreneurial initiatives that represent minorities and women. “Female and minority entrepreneurship in the technology industry does not reflect the diversity of the United States,” the company said in a public statement. “With this new fund, Intel Capital is leading the way in investing in the best talent from a myriad of backgrounds to develop innovations that serve the needs of a diverse public.” Read more: click on image or title.





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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Wonderful opportunity created by Intel.

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The 4 Ways Investors Find Great Startups - Arena Ventures

The 4 Ways Investors Find Great Startups - Arena Ventures | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Investing in seed stage startups can be exhilarating and highly lucrative, but it can also be incredibly risky and time consuming. Identifying the most promising new companies requires a lot of cutting through the weeds – I interact in one way or another with well over 2,000 entrepreneurs a year and take meetings with over 200 of them, all in the process of finding just the 15 I’ll invest in.

When I first began investing, I wasted a lot of time. Tracking down the most promising entrepreneurs was a crapshoot and I didn’t know where to start. But as I developed as an angel investor over the last 8 years however, and now in running Arena Ventures, I’ve recognized the pattern of where my investments come from…where I get the highest ROI on my time.

There are 4 activities you can do as an investor to get to the good deals most quickly: hunting, trapping, farming, and trading. Read more: click on title or image.




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"Your articles are great, Dave.
I read every single one as soon as they are posted. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knowledge.
The information has played a large part in developing my business plan and numbers. We're looking for our first angel!"
Chrissie VanWormer

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Knowing how investors think and work helps to make better presentations and to be in the right place at the right time.

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Charting A Path From Seed To A Competitive Series A Round

Charting A Path From Seed To A Competitive Series A Round | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Over the past five years, there has been roughly $3 billion of capital invested in nearly 3,500 seed-stage companies, with the number of seed investments rising every year. According to CB Insights, 2014 saw the largest year of seed investing since 2009, with a record $1.3 billion of capital invested in almost 1,000 seed companies. Many of these seed founders have high hopes of raising the subsequent up rounds that can lead to a defining moment for their team, investors and advisers: an attractive acquisition or an IPO.

The reality is that raising seed capital is only the beginning of a long and sometimes turbulent journey of startup experimentation, and only a small percentage of seed companies will emerge from the gulf of experimentation to reach a Series A round....


...

Companies that reach highly competitive Series A rounds typically have systematically reduced their company’s product, market and execution risk during the seed stage. The founders of these companies use their seed capital to efficiently orchestrate a process-oriented set of experiments that culminate in evidence of product-market fit.

From a product perspective, their product teams are characterized by product, technical, and/or domain experts who can build compelling products that address concrete market needs. These teams study the engagement of their users/customers, and discover how users/customers are interacting with their products and the value customers are deriving. These companies have multi-talented, growing, and disciplined product teams that sometimes execute against a product roadmap that has feedback loops to help inform product development.

Read more: click image or title.



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Great info. Loving your business plan template, makes writing a plan almost fun.


Craig Heppell
Nambour, Queensland

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, May 11, 9:17 AM

Must read article for every founder who is serious about building a great business and wants/needs to think beyond the seed funding stage.

Marianne Naughton's curator insight, May 20, 12:40 PM

Developing seed techs ... 

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Investment Giant KKR Leads Rare $15M Early Stage Round For Fundraising Platform Artivest

Investment Giant KKR Leads Rare $15M Early Stage Round For Fundraising Platform Artivest | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

In what may be one of its first investments in a Series A round, the investment firm KKR has pulled from its $98.6 billion in assets under management to lead a $15 million investment in fundraising platform Artivest.

The deal is part of a broader push from the private-equity firm to invest more actively in startup technology companies. To date, KKR has backed companies including Magic Leap, FanDuel, Ping Identity, Arago, ClickTale, Next Issue Media, and The Hut Group.

In the past, KKR invested primarily from a joint-venture fund it had set up with the venture investor Accel Partners, called Accel-KKR, but now the firm is also doing investments from its $13 billion balance sheet (a pool of capital larger than the top five largest current venture funds combined).

“Our balance sheet [investing] is very opportunistic,” said KKR CIO Ed Brandman. “I don’t think this is going to be a significant portion of the balance sheet [but] it can be meaningful. Over time [investments] could be hundreds of millions of dollars.” Read more: click title or image.





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"I loved working with Growthink. The staff are passionate about their work and committed to what they do in a way that can only be achieved when you love what you do. They helped keep us on track to achieve our planning goals. I am looking forward to continued success working with everyone from Growthink in the future."
- Venus Williams, Professional Tennis Player and CEO, V Starr Interiors

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#VC firms are still increasing investments in promising #startups.

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7 Reasons Why Your Business Will Never Be Acquired (and What You Can Do About It) -- Infographic

7 Reasons Why Your Business Will Never Be Acquired (and What You Can Do About It) -- Infographic | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Luckily, these issues are all factors business owners can control.

In my career as a broker for website sales, I have met only a few entrepreneurs who didn't dream about having their businesses acquired. Among entrepreneurs, that goal seems to be something of a shared dream. But few take any steps to actually position their business to get there.

Rather, most entrepreneurs simply go about their business and consider acquisitions something they'll only read about posted on websites like entrepreneur.com.

This is unfortunate, as actively positioning your business to be acquired is not difficult to do. One effective approach for starting out, for example, is to analyze your business in terms of the various reasons an investor would give for saying no to acquiring it.

This approach is effective because it relates directly to a basic law of business acquisitions: Those actively looking to buy a business are always looking for a reason to say no. This may imply an attitude of a "glass half empty," but the reality is, most companies or investors don't have the luxury of making mistakes with their acquisitions. That's why smart business owners work at understanding why, exactly, buyers do say no, and why they're always on the lookout for the warning signs of things that could go wrong.

Once you, the owner, know these warning signs, you can leverage that information to make your own business more desirable.That's why I suggest that owners first analyze the reasons a buyer might pass on their businesses, and place those reasons into one of three buckets: things they can easily control, things that are somewhat in their control and things they have no control over.

Certainly there are dozens of reasons buyers could say no, but seven fundamental reasons consistently take the prize as the primary problem points for businesses beginning to think about acquisition. Luckily, these seven points are all in the “things you can control” bucket:

1. Keep clean financials. 

Messy and inaccurate financial records are the most common cause why acquirers back out of an acquisition, and this is a factor entirely within your control. Keep clean financial and tax records, or hire a rockstar bookkeeper who will keep everything clean, tidy and verifiable.

2. Track your metrics.

Buyers expect you to know your business, and to have data to back up what you know. For example, every online business should have web analytics software installed. Buyers of online businesses will typically pass on an acquisition if they can't view basic metrics.


3. Watch out for vendor instability. 

Buyers commonly look for "single points of failure" in a business. What happens if your primary vendor disappears or drastically changes his or her terms? How does that impact your business? Always have backup vendors. If possible, diversify your product sources among multiple vendors to reduce over-reliance on one source.

4. Make sure you are trustworthy. 

You may wonder what your trustworthy score has to do with your business being acquired, but buyers are always looking for reasons they should say no. If a buyer does not trust you, then he or she may not trust what you say about the business. Sowing seeds of distrust can be done in a lot of ways: telling white lies, missing scheduled appointments, or not fulfilling promises, or even appearing disorganized and unknowledgeable about your business.

5. Have multiple sources of revenue. 

Vendors aren't the only place a buyer looks for single points of failure. Your revenue sources also present a potential source of instability that could have a buyer passing on your business. Does most of your revenue come from one product or service? Is your business predicated on a strong ranking in Google? These are all reasons a buyer might say no to acquiring your business.

6. Make sure the transition path to new ownership is not difficult. 

An acquirer is likely to pass on an investment if there is no clear path to transitioning ownership of the company, or if that transition requires significant additional investment. Ensure that key employees are replaceable (and that includes you as the owner).

7. Make sure your business isn't in disrepair. 

While many acquirers look for distressed sales, these acquirers usually want a bargain price for their acquisition. Most acquirers will say no to an acquisition if they anticipate the need to invest significant capital into a "fix-up" project, following the acquisition. If your passion for your business is waning, seek an acquisition before the business falls into a state of disrepair.

My business Quiet Light Brokerage has available an infographic using data we've collected from successful and failed acquisitions to break down more than 35 common reasons acquisitions fail. Work your way through these reasons and place them within your own buckets of "controllable," "not controllable" and "somewhat controllable" for a customized analysis of your business's acquisition potential.

With this analysis completed, you'll develop a quick checklist from which to set goals and action plans, to begin positioning your business for a successful and profitable acquisition.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent overview of how to position your business to be acquired. First of all, get rid of all of the reasons NOT to get acquired. The infographic is very realistic.

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Startups, prioritize growth (but not at the expense of profitability)

Startups, prioritize growth (but not at the expense of profitability) | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/eQ0y

Should burgeoning companies focus on growth or profitability? This classic, critical question continues to challenge entrepreneurs and investors alike.

Since growth is such an important factor in determining the value of a business, one of the most important goals for private equity investors and advocates of value creation like myself is to help our portfolio companies accelerate their growth.
To demonstrate just why growth is such a great priority, here’s a table that illustrates the impact of growth on valuation on two indexes:
NASDAQ 100 Index (100 largest non-financial companies traded on the NASDAQ)
NYSE Software and Services (90 software and services companies traded on NYSE)
We divided the indexes of the top 20 percent of companies according to growth and the 20 percent slowest growing companies in the last year and in the last three years. Then we checked the multiples of these data sets. Read more here: http://snip.ly/eQ0y





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Hello Dave,
Thank you so very much for allowing me to be a part of this amazing community [Growthink’s Insider Circle]. I am so excited to learn all that I can from you.
I just received your disc in the mail and listened to it.  Simply fantastic. Thank you.
Looking forward to it all -
Liza Brigham

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A comparison of startup stocks in the Nasdaq and NYSE taking into account their revenue growth and profitability.

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Resolving Conflicts in a VC Partnership - UNREASONABLE

Resolving Conflicts in a VC Partnership - UNREASONABLE | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

I got the following question the other day: “If you get a chance, I’d request you to write a blog post about various business decision related conflicts or misunderstanding that might occur in a partnership and how you folks at the Foundry Group resolve it. My partners and I grapple with such challenges quite often.

Every VC firm is different so to answer a question like this, it’s important to remember that the answer is one specific to Foundry Group. Never forget that VCs Are Like D&D Characters.

When my partners and I started Foundry Group in 2007, we created a set of deeply held beliefs that we carry around with us every day. Some of them are about our strategy and some are about our behavior.
One of our deeply held beliefs is that “We will address and resolve all conflict between us directly, clearly, quickly, and openly.”

This is easy to say but very hard to do. It means that there will be no passive aggressive behavior on anyone’s part. We won’t carry around things that bother us. Instead, we’ll put them on the table to discuss. We have to have a strong basis of trust, which we’ve extended to the notion of “business love.”  Read more: click title or image.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Just like any other business, the partners of a VC firm have to deal with disagreements, frustration, misunderstanding and communication challenges. The solutions, or tools, they implemented, are excellent for any business to consider. My esteem for Brad Feld just went up a few notches.

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‘Silicon Valley is coming’ warns JP Morgan CEO | America's Markets

‘Silicon Valley is coming’ warns JP Morgan CEO | America's Markets | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/C13b


In his annual letter to shareholders, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon warns of growing competition for Wall Street in the form of Silicon Valley start-ups.

“Silicon Valley is coming,” Dimon said in the letter, which touched on technologies as varied as mobile payments, bitcoin and peer-to-peer lending.

“There are hundreds of start-ups with a lot of brains and money working on various alternatives to traditional banking,” the CEO warned.

Indeed, there’s been a boom in start-ups seeking to compete with banks in stock trading, lending and payments. LendlingClub, for example, received a lot of attention when it went public in December. The company acts as a kind of Kickstarter for loans, matching borrowers with lenders.

Research firm CB Insights recently wrote about dozens of so-called “FinTech” startups that are “attacking” products and services traditionally provided by banks, including Jack Dorsey’s Square, which provides capital to small businesses.

The question, CB Insights said, is whether banks are going to “lose their edge not because of their incumbent, large competitors, but because emerging startups inflict upon them a death by a thousand cuts.”

Dimon sought to reassure shareholders that the $228 billion bank is prepared to deal with the competition.

“Rest assured, we analyze all of our competitors in excruciating detail – so we can learn what they are doing and develop our own strategies accordingly,” he said. Read More: http://snip.ly/C13b




Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

Hello Dave,
Thank you so very much for allowing me to be a part of this amazing community [Growthink’s Insider Circle]. I am so excited to learn all that I can from you.
I just received your disc in the mail and listened to it.  Simply fantastic. Thank you.
Looking forward to it all -
Liza Brigham

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The power of the #banks is waning. #Startups are competing successfully with great technological advances.

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Is your startup’s technology worth investing in? My perspective as a VC firm’s CTO

Is your startup’s technology worth investing in? My perspective as a VC firm’s CTO | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

As investors, we want to choose winners. We want to put our money on an excellent team and a superior technology that’s addressing a lucrative market with a unique offering. But how do we know that your team is excellent and whether your technology is indeed superior?

When we first meet you, it’s difficult to tell because we don’t know you well enough and don’t understand your technology deeply enough to feel assured. Sometimes we are tempted to invest because we see the potential, but fear that you might fail.

So we ask questions, many questions. We won’t necessarily invest in your startup if your answers about your technology are good, but we’ll certainly feel uncomfortable investing in it if they’re not. Read more, click on title or image.



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"Our work with Growthink was very helpful for creating a business plan to focus our efforts in the short term and increase our value over the long term."
Jack Bergstrand, CEO
Brand Velocity, Inc.





Via VC Girl, Marc Kneepkens
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's important to understand the VC perspective when looking for funding. Do you qualify?

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VC Girl's curator insight, March 13, 12:49 PM

An insightful piece about what VCs consider when evaluating a startup's technology in order to determine whether it's worth investing in - written by Carmel Ventures CTO Ofer Brandes.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, March 14, 9:59 AM

How do #investors assess your opportunity? What kind of questions do they ask? In what order? What are they looking for? Here is an article that describes this process in detail. You get a very clear picture of what they are looking for. Must read for any start up looking for funding.

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6 things you need to know if seeking venture capital investment - Avonglen

6 things you need to know if seeking venture capital investment - Avonglen | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Venture Capital funding is undoubtedly a great tool for entrepreneurs, but are the implications fully understood if seeking venture capital?


1-Statistically you will fail

All this positive spin means two things. Firstly, entrepreneurs ask “How can I get VC” rather than “Will I get VC,” or more importantly, “Should I get VC,” and “What can I do without VC?”  Secondly, all the heightened celebration of success and imminent wealth leads entrepreneurs to think that this is the only model for success. The inference is that there is no other way to build a major company, and that would-be entrepreneurs should spend infinite hours writing business plans, attending VC conferences, seeking out VCs, and ultimately, possibly give VCs control of their venture.

The VC investment process is a complicated one and companies are vetted thoroughly before commitment. Just because your company is backed, you are not guaranteed success. VCs reject 98-99% of business plans they see, either because they are not in the preferred industries, have not displayed the potential or proof of potential, have not been referred by the right person, or any number of other reasons.

VCs believe in press relations and spend millions on it. By doing so they manage to make themselves and their investments look mighty glamorous helping them to secure higher valuations on sale.

Read more: click on title or image.



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Hey Dave,
Your BP template help me achieve the goals I've been trying for 5 years. The template led me to produce an effective tool to attract the investors I need.
Thanks
Robert


Via KAGEMUSHA Capital
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