See, if you’re a good entrepreneur, you’re good at pretending you know what you’re doing even when you don’t. You can come up with confident sounding answers to hard questions, deliver them with passion, and then go figure out how the fuck to do what you just promised (or who can help you figure it out). But the internal experience of keeping that up, day to day, isn’t always so great. And that’s due in part to the predominant messaging that says you should always seem like you are “crushing it.” Like somehow being tired, overwhelmed and scared isn’t also a part of “crushing it.” Only a few of my very closest advisors and friends have ever really heard what entrepreneurship is like for me. Most people don’t really want to know how the sausage is made. […]
This article will be the first in a series of articles on entrepreneurship, startup culture, and “business design” from our team here at High Alpha. I wanted to start our first article in this series by taking a deeper dive into the infamous pitch deck through a design lens.
The easier you make it for investors to understand your startup structure and operations, the more likely they will be to invest. Once a business gets up and running, it’s time to reassess where the company’s operational priorities are. It’s tempting, at that point, to let “structure” remain on the back burner, when you’re scrambling for growth. But having that singular factor in place early on is much more effective than backlogging it two years later, should you, for instance, need a clear picture of your financial history.
This is a question that comes up a lot. When you’re raising money for a startup, how many investors should you be going to, and talking to, and pitching to? I think there’s a lot of confusion out there, and there’s certainly a perspective that you get around a shotgun apprach — the idea that the more people you pitch to, the better chance you’ll have of success.
When I was a Y Combinator partner, I noticed that more and more of the batches were companies started by international founders. It’s now at 35 percent, and because of this a common question I hear now is: How do you set yourself up to raise money in the U.S.?
Contrary to popular belief, the highest degree of control in a company is not determined by the shares percentage that your investor might have, but by the conditions you agree on when signing the investment term sheet.
Most financial institutions don’t work with early stage startups, which is why founders are turning to angel investors and venture capitalists for funding. Today, fewer deals and larger raises make early stage financing more elusive than ever.
Over the course of 30 years as a General Partner at Highland Capital Partners, I’ve had the privilege of attending more than 5,000 introductory meetings with startups. Based on that experience, here are five tips to help founding teams prepare for their first big meeting with venture capital firms.
Silicon Valley and the world of startups in general is supposed to be a safe space for unconventional thinking and weird ideas. But spend much time reading about startups and talking to those involved in them and you quickly realize that, like every other segment of the population, VCs, entrepreneurs, and techies have their orthodoxies.
Crowdfunding is a fantastic way to get an idea out there and test the crowd. But, it’s also a stunt. A stunt where you overpromise and oversell on something that hasn’t even been born yet.