One man's opinion on Venture Capital Basics

You're Entertainment

When getting angel investment money, remember you’re dealing with discretionary dollars.  Don’t worry about the angel’s kid’s college fund, the 2nd house, 3rd car, 4th wife, 5th mistress.  That’s money you’ll never see.  What you’ll get will be the money that’s left over, the money for the cruise, or the casino.  This means you have to be at least as entertaining as the story that money would buy.

No Co-CEOs

Tell me who is in charge.  I want to know who’s head will roll if this thing goes south.  Don’t tell me that 2 or more of you are in charge, I want to know that if there’s a disagreement between the founders, that one person has the bigger voice.  They might have it because they invested more, that they went with less pay, or put more resources in.  But there has to be one person who can be pointed to for the success/failure of the venture.


Deserve to exist

As a human being, you deserve to exist.  You deserve food in your belly, a roof over your head and a shirt on your back.  You have the right to live.  As a company, you have no such rights.  The only one who can give you the right to exist is your customer.  The only way they give you that right is by purchasing your goods/services.  If they don’t buy, you don’t exist.              

Portfolio approach in VC

Venture investors have a portfolio of companies they invest in.  1 has to be a home run and cover all the sins and mistakes of the rest of the portfolio. Venture investors also have a time frame in which to make their money. This is usually 7 years with 3 1-year extensions.  Thus, since everyone one of their investments looked like a home run at the time they wrote the check, they will push all their portfolio companies to strive to be that huge return.

Sell To investor means Sell For investor

Once you get money from an investor into your company, the very nature of your business changes.  It goes from being a job to sell your product/service, to a primary job of selling your company.  The investor is only in this deal because they think it’s possible to sell your company for more than they paid.  The only way that happens is with an exit to another company, via an acquisition.  Or an IPO, which is a sale to the public.  Given the challenges of going public, many companies will end up exiting via acquisition.  But that terminal point is what th

5 words per slide

If you can distill your message to having only 5 words on the slide, then you can have a very powerful presentation.  Use powerpoint as a presentation tool, not a word processor.  It’s not your fault that you’re making terrible presentations, the templates, and everyone else is making bad presentations.  But you can do better.

Better != Good

Just because you’re better than the alternatives doesn’t mean that your solution is any good.   Sometimes the hassle of testing/trying your solution is not worth the challenge of doing something different.  Especially when your solution doesn’t even solve the original problem.  Being better on a relative scale doesn’t mean you’re something that will be bought or used.

Needs/Wants/Expectations for User/Selector/Buyer

You have to know what the needs/wants/expectations are for your customer. And many times, you’ve got to go through 3 different people to get your product purchased, and repurchased. The User has to actually use the stuff that’s bought. If they rebel against it, or don’t adopt the product, you will not get another sale. The selection or decision maker has to choose your product over everyone else’s.

No Customers = No Company

If no one is buying your service or product, then you don’t have a business, you have a hobby.  Now your company can be your product, in the case of a build to acquire organization.  But somewhere along the line, you must have someone buying something from you.  If a sale never happens, then you never were a real company.

10 points for entrepreneurs

Foo Conner suggested I write down some guidelines that explain my philosophy of entrepreneurship.


I'll elaborate later, but here are the main points for now.

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