Category Startup Advice

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3 basic principles founders can follow to achieve quality results 

We are all in a rush these days. As founders, we want to literally do more faster all the time. As we rush, and get a lot done, sometimes we don’t do things right.  We forego quality in exchange for speed and quantity. Yet it is really important to pay attention to correctness and quality. When we rush […]

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How to effectively use mailing lists to update mentors, team, current and prospective investors on your startup

Mailing lists can be a simple yet powerful tool to set cadence and keep people up to date on your progress. The advantage of having several mailing lists is that you can share the right kind of information with the right group, and choose the right cadence for each update. 1. List for Mentors Mentors, […]

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7 Tips for Raising Capital in a Slower Market

We’ve talked a lot here about raising seed capital. Even when capital is readily available, fundraising is still not easy. But today, the markets are cooler, and according to Crain’s and Alley Watch, early-stage investment activity in 2016 in NYC is down compared to 2015. We’ve written about the slowdown back in August of 2015. Lack […]

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What is the Customer’s Elevator Pitch for YOUR Startup?

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Moisey Uretsky, co-founder of Digital Ocean (Techstars ’12), a close friend, and one of my all-time favorite founders. Moisey is incredibly smart, thoughtful, and had one of the best product guts and chops out there. We talked about a lot of topics around engineering and startups, and one of the things that came […]

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Founders first and other things I have learned during 3 years at Techstars

Three years ago I embarked on what, so far, has turned out to be the best job of my career. I am not just saying it, this is actually true—running the Techstars New York City program and working at Techstars has been the best, most humbling job I’ve ever had. Here is what I have learned […]

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How a seed-stage company can run a simple and effective board meeting

I am a fan of having a formal board right after the company raises seed financing. I’ve seen how helpful the boards are and how lost and disadvantaged the founders can often be without the board. To put it simply, a good early-stage board helps the CEO identify key future milestones, and helps achieve them. […]

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Let’s face it, it’s time to upgrade the Pitch Deck to a Pitch Video

When founders get connected to investors, they are often asked to send the deck ahead of the meeting. We’ve written here why sending the decks, especially before the first meeting, is generally not a good idea. Startup founders cannot be defined by their decks. The main issue with a pitch deck is that it is […]

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11 Questions Founders Need to Ask Investors During the First Meeting

Last week we wrote about questions that investors ask founders during investor meetings. This week we are turning the tables and talking about questions that founders need to ask investors. Most founders spend little time asking investors questions, and that’s too bad. First of all, good investors love it when you ask them questions, because it […]

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30 Questions Investors Ask During Fundraising

We’ve written a lot here about fundraising and how it is a complicated, and at times, confusing process. To fundraise effectively you need to prepare and have a strategy, understand different types of investors, understand how much to raise, and create a solid investor pipeline. We have also talked about a fundraising deck, and how to go about putting one together. […]

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Understanding Network Effects

I am a big fan of A16Z podcasts, and they just released a terrific episode on Network Effect. Network effect is an important, and somewhat confusing topic. The reason network effect is important is that the businesses with a true network effect are highly defensible, have strong retention and engagement, exhibit characteristics of a monopoly, and tend to last for […]