What we're blogging

  • Upstream and Downstream

    In mentoring startups, I have noticed two things have come up recently: 1. Entrepreneurs keep remarking to me that investors are looking for multi-tens or hundreds of billions in market size. I believe this is one of the results of the explosion of startups we have seen over these last few years, as investors at… Continue

  • Demo Day Tips Volume 2.1: Essential Timing

    Two more thoughts on Demo Days: 1. Given the plethora of accelerators out there, the scheduling of the Demo Day is challenging because you don’t want to hold a Demo Day to close to another one. This is because you don’t want to overload investors in their time and attention to give the best chance… Continue

  • Demo Day Tips Volume 2: From Day One to Winning the Pageant

    A while back I was part of the short lived mentor program at YCombinator and wrote this post in response, Tips on Demo Day and Afterwards for YCombinator Startups. It was in reaction to easy to fix mistakes that all their crop make come the days before, during and after Demo Day. Over the years… Continue

  • Venture Therapy

    As an advisor to startups, I’ve spent a lot of time developing my skills at teaching, guiding, and influencing people. But things aren’t always so rosy for startups – people who have done startups before know that there can be incredible highs but also incredible lows. The tough moments can be extremely challenging to the… Continue

  • Some Suggestions on How to Prepare for a Successful Series A

    This year, I’ve got a number of startups all gunning for series A. A lot of us have been working on getting these startups to a point where they can present the best possible chance for getting their next round. Then, on the 500startups discussion board, the same topic came up and I posted an… Continue

  • How I Make Investment Decisions

    At some point in their lifecycle, many VC’s try to open up the black box of decision making at their firms via a blog post.  When I read these posts, generally gloss over because they are explaining to you the things that I call table-stakes: the basics that will just get you in the door… Continue

  • A Case for Strong Entrepreneurs AND Great Ideas

    (Written by David Shen, Director, West Coast Operations) I was on a panel at Fundingpost’s, Silicon Valley VC and Angel Conference this last Thursday and once again the topic of how important the startup’s idea was, relative to other factors, in an investor’s decision process to invest. Overwhelmingly, the panelists’ response that super smart and… Continue

  • The Complicated Relationship of a VC Mentor

    Perhaps the most important relationship within a start-up business is the adviser relationship.  Some entrepreneurs know how to leverage this relationship very well, while others believe that it is a waste of time and energy.  I believe that, if properly aligned and matched,  the mentor/adviser relationship can elevate a start-up to the next level.  From… Continue