9.14.12 by Dov
Sequoia Capital’s Jim Goetz was recently quoted expressing dismay at how few entrepreneurs are building B2B software companies (vs. consumer-focused startups).
Jim: Come visit the Midwest. While folks like the Brandery have been building our consumer sector, the region’s already overflowing with great B2B companies here (focused on both the enterprise and SMB). For example – there’s BidPal, Blue Pillar, Scale Computing, and Weblink. And that’s just in the Allos portfolio.
8.24.12 by Dov
Quick – what do Facebook (down 50% since its IPO), Zynga (65%), and Groupon (83%) have in common?
Kent Bernhard argues that the disaster that is publicly-traded Facebook is a good thing because “Startups will have to prove themselves as business instead of just services”. And while he’s focused on Facebook, presumably it’s true of the other recent high-profile venture-backed “eyeballs without profit” companies.
If only it were true. I’m pretty sure we were all told that investors had learned this lesson once before. If the third time’s the charm, I think we have one more bubble still to go.
8.8.12 by Dov
3.30.12 by Dov
I’ll be here on April 11th, starting at 3pm for anyone who wants some free advice (which is probably worth about what you pay for it). We even have coffee and (sometimes) iced tea! Sign up here. Time doesn’t work for you? Just give me a call and we can find a time that does
1.31.12 by Dov
It’s funny how quickly we start to take for granted all those little parts of our jobs that we do every day. And how interesting those pieces are to people trying to better understand what we do. Sometimes it just takes someone seeing it fresh to bring some needed perspective. I’m pretty sure I never could have written this post by John Lilly (former CEO of Mozilla and newly minted VC) with tips for entrepreneurs about why VCs are the way we are, but it’s spot on.
11.17.11 by Dov
Saw this recent post for entrepreneurs figuring out how to pitch VCs and thought I’d add my two cents.
Personally, I prefer to walk through a description of a new venture in the following order:
1. What do you do? I know lots of people want to start with how big the market is and what the problem they’re solving is, but I find that it all makes more sense if I have the initial context of what we’re talking about. Not necessarily a demo (yet), but just enough context to know what the product/service does.
2. The pain. Here’s your chance to explain why the world sucks without your solution (apologies to Kelly Clarkson; now apologies for mentioning Kelly Clarkson). Tell me how you make customers’ lives better and then how many customers care (i.e. market size).
3. Why will you win? And please – not one of those charts showing how you have checkmarks on a bunch of features that your competitors don’t, unless you’re going to show every feature (not advised) or just the ones that make a substantial difference to the customer (which off the top of my head, means no more than 3).
4. The team (i.e. Why will you win – Part 2).
5. Financials and details on the capital raise (i.e. how much and for what?)
6. Sometimes a demo helps, but sometimes it just highlights how in love with the technology you are (that’s bad, by the way). It’s your call.
By the way, the pitch doesn’t need to be (or perhaps even SHOULDN’T be) a Powerpoint deck that we’re going to walk through. Guy Kawasaki has his 10/20/30 rule (10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font), but frankly if everything is in 30 points or larger, my take is what’s the point of even putting that little information down on a slide? Just say it, and save the slides for charts, demos, financial projections, or other visuals you can’t communicate verbally.
Finally – you need to realize that everyone you talk to is going to have their own preferred approach (as evidenced by the disparity of opinion in that original post, plus my comments, plus whatever you find in the 2.5 million results if you Google “venture capital pitch”), so you can’t really win.
At the end of the day, I’d advise just doing whatever’s comfortable for you. If you understand your business and are a reasonably talented communicator, any VC with any idea of what they’re doing should be able to understand the concept after a meeting, regardless of the length, order, color, or font size of your pitch deck coming in.
11.7.11 by Dov
Nice call to action from Adeo Ressi. We totally agree (and we are).
11.4.11 by Dov
Around the world, fervent believers in efficient markets just threw up a little in their mouths (sorry for the image).
10.21.11 by Dov
10.13.11 by Dov
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