Archives for November 2013

Angel Group Screening Practices Data

Best Practices in ScreeningI recently did a deck and moderated a talk at the Angel Capital Association Leadership Conference in Boston about what different established angel groups are doing on screening deal flow – best practices, tools, sources, staffing, fees, how group size affects it, etc. Lots of data (based on a large survey of almost 100 angel groups, mostly in the US) – some of it is pretty interesting.  I have been asked repeatedly to share the slides, so here they are (email readers can access them here).

Comments, questions or reactions to this post? Leave a note below and I will respond to your questions.
If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: Some Perspective on SEC Rule 506 General SolicitationFunding Startups (Panel Video)Swimming Against the Tide (Angel Investing)Nailing The One Minute PitchStart-Up Marketing SeriesCustomer Crowdfunding: Not So Fast Entrepreneurs (Again!)Constructing a PitchPick Your Angel Investors Wisely (David Hornik)Why Angels Chase ElectronsDelusional EconomicsLoch Ness, Unicorns & The First-Mover AdvantageDoes This Slide Deck Make Me Look Fat?,  The Long Road to Instant SuccessTop Angel Investors in New EnglandCustomer Crowdfunding: Not So Fast, EntrepreneursAngel Video Interview Series,  Thoughts on CrowdfundingEntrepreneur at Work: Caine’s Arcade,  The Crowdfunding Interview (Frank Peters Show), Pattern Matching Can Cause BlindspotsGetting Off The Ground; Early Formation EconomicsPitch Clinic at MassChallenge (Video)Are Entrepreneurs Wild Risk-Takers?Top 20 Dos & Don’ts with Angel Groups & Early Stage FinancingWhat I Look For In An EntrepreneurThe OverturePick Your Founder/Co-Investors Carefully & Reflections on the Nature of EntrepreneursShould I Wait For A Technical Co-Founder?When Do You Need My Slide Deck?20 Bootstrapping Ideas
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Scratchpaper Recommended Links [Ed. 0023 / Environment]

Leaves GreenLatest selection of the best stuff I’ve seen lately across the ScratchPaper focus areas of Green, Environment, Energy, Transportation, and New Urbanism, including items on how one guy with a whiteboard just made the global warming debate obsolete, how solar has overtaken wind, how graphene may replace batteries and the future of e-Bikes.  Enjoy.

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Boston: Startups At Work

Boston RocksWhen I think of Boston as a start-up community I am reminded of the beer commercial – though in this case, it might be “tastes great, less hype.” There is an absolute hive of activity going on here – great start-ups, great schools, vibrant investor ecosystem, incubators and accelerators of every kind, and events on a nearly 24×7 basis. But it is not a showy town. Entrepreneurs just try to get after it with an under-promise and over-deliver attitude, and that is what I love about the city.

Not long ago I was interviewed for a documentary on the thriving Boston start-up ecosystem. The idea for the film came about when local entrepreneur and part-time film-maker Warren Anderson heard I had a random busy day in which I ended up scheduled to speak at four completely unrelated entrepreneurship and start-up-oriented events in a single day. It was nuts. So he asked to follow along and see what shook out. It was fun to be part of making a film and I am definitely proud to be part of any project that gets the word out about Boston. Enjoy:

Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us

[Update: Here is a superb deck by Jeff Bussgang on what makes the Boston start-up scene so special as well as a great post he wrote on Boston’s Unicorns (big companies founded here).]

Comments, questions or reactions to this post? Leave a note below and I will respond to your questions.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: Some Perspective on SEC Rule 506 General SolicitationFunding Startups (Panel Video)Swimming Against the Tide (Angel Investing)Nailing The One Minute PitchHow Do You Define Success?Start-Up Marketing SeriesConstructing a PitchWhy Angels Chase ElectronsBoards vs. Advisory BoardsDelusional EconomicsThat Vision ThingThe Power of An Advisory BoardLoch Ness, Unicorns & The First-Mover AdvantageDoes This Slide Deck Make Me Look Fat?,  The Long Road to Instant SuccessTop Angel Investors in New EnglandAngel Video Interview Series,  Thoughts on CrowdfundingEntrepreneur at Work: Caine’s Arcade,  The Crowdfunding Interview (Frank Peters Show), Getting Off The Ground; Early Formation EconomicsPitch Clinic at MassChallenge (Video)Are Entrepreneurs Wild Risk-Takers?Top 20 Dos & Don’ts with Angel Groups & Early Stage FinancingWhat I Look For In An EntrepreneurThe OverturePick Your Founder/Co-Investors Carefully & Reflections on the Nature of EntrepreneursShould I Wait For A Technical Co-Founder?.   
Subscribe – To get an automatic feed of all future posts subscribe to the RSS feed here, or to receive them via email enter your address in the box in the upper right or go here and enter your email address in the box in the upper right. You can also follow me on Twitter @cmirabile and on Google+.

 

Scratchpaper Recommended Links [Ed. 0022 / Internet & Social]

Internet Social CrowdLatest selection of the best stuff I’ve seen lately across the ScratchPaper focus areas of Internet, IOT, Social Networking, Crowdsourcing, and Cybersecurity, including items on the rise of machines, how call center agents know your mood, and why so many social media managers are dipshits.  Enjoy.

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Market > Team?

Product Market FitA really smart investor I know named Tom Huntington (who blogs at On Strategy & Execution) likes to make the point that, in a lot of ways, Market ends up being more important than Team in determining the success of a start-up. It’s a variation of the old jockey vs. horse question (for a lot of interesting takes on that, see my video interview series in which I talk to a variety of investors on that point). But instead of looking at product vs. team, Tom is trying to make the point that a poor market is a fatal flaw from which no team can recover.  In his words:

I agree that team is critical, but it is less critical than market.  Great markets can compensate for lackluster teams, but not the reverse.  A non-existent market doesn’t care how smart you are, to paraphrase Andy Rachleff and Marc Andreesen.

I think Tom has a very valid point. (He also makes some great points about the crucial importance of a learning orientation, but I digress.)

But while I essentially agree with Tom, I think of it I don’t think it is as simple as he formulates it: “Market>Team.” Part of my reasoning is based on the knowledge that mediocre teams can find a way screw up even a great market opportunity – every race has DNFs. Or as I sometimes like to observe: “start-ups are always inventing new ways to fail.” Great market conditions can compensate up to a point, but keep in mind, what is a great market for  you, is also a great market for your competitors, and soon those competitors will be exposing any underlying incompetence.

The more important part is that I don’t see it as a question of great teams triumphing in an impossible market. What great teams do is get the heck out of bad markets and find a better way to repurpose the company’s tech or skills or insight in a fast and resource-efficient way.

So while Tom and I are in violent agreement that a crappy market is a fatal blow to any company that is stupid enough to try and stay in it, I feel that it is not a fatal blow to a team smart enough to get the heck out of such a market.  Even if they start out pointed squarely at what turns out to be a bad market, great teams chisel away at their plan until they are pointing at a better one. (Which goes squarely to Tom’s learning orientation point, but that is a story for another day.

Comments, questions or reactions to this post? Leave a note below and I will respond to your questions.
If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: Start-Up Marketing SeriesDelusional EconomicsThat Vision ThingThe Power of An Advisory BoardLoch Ness, Unicorns & The First-Mover AdvantageDoes This Slide Deck Make Me Look Fat?,  The Long Road to Instant SuccessEntrepreneur at Work: Caine’s ArcadeGetting Off The Ground; Early Formation EconomicsAre Entrepreneurs Wild Risk-Takers?What I Look For In An EntrepreneurThe OverturePick Your Founder/Co-Investors Carefully & Reflections on the Nature of Entrepreneurs, and Should I Wait For A Technical Co-Founder?
Subscribe – To get an automatic feed of all future posts subscribe to the RSS feed here, or to receive them via email enter your address in the box in the upper right or go here and enter your email address in the box in the upper right. You can also follow me on Twitter @cmirabile and on Google+.

 

 

Scratchpaper Recommended Links [Ed. 0021 / Media & Publishing]

MediaLatest selection of the best stuff I’ve seen lately across the ScratchPaper focus areas of Media, Digital Media and Publishing, including items on whether News is Dead, Why there will never be another Pogue or Mossberg, and whether blogging for free is slavery (spoiler alert: it’s not even close.) Enjoy.

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Angel Group 2.0

Angel Group 2dot0I recently did a deck and moderated a talk at the Angel Capital Association Leadership Conference in Boston about ways angel groups may evolve to adapt to changing market conditions over the coming years, particularly crowdfunding platforms allowing for new kinds of less-traditional investing (i.e. less contact with the companies, potentially less value-add, larger, less-tightly integrated syndicates). The observations represent the thinking of the leaders of some of largest groups in California, Massachusetts, Texas.  I have been asked repeatedly to share the slides, so here they are (email readers can access them here). PS: thanks to George McQuilken of Angel Investing News for the nice write up on this. Maia Heymann of Common Angels, Ralph Meyers of TechCoast Angels and Jamie Rhodes of Central Texas Angel Network were awesome to work with and brainstorm with.

Comments, questions or reactions to this post? Leave a note below and I will respond to your questions.
If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: Some Perspective on SEC Rule 506 General SolicitationFunding Startups (Panel Video)Swimming Against the Tide (Angel Investing)Nailing The One Minute PitchHow Do You Define Success?Start-Up Marketing SeriesCustomer Crowdfunding: Not So Fast Entrepreneurs (Again!)Constructing a PitchPick Your Angel Investors Wisely (David Hornik)Why Angels Chase ElectronsBoards vs. Advisory BoardsInterview: State of the VC & Angel Market and How to Raise Money, Delusional EconomicsTen Rules For Navigating in The Age of OutrageThat Vision ThingThe Power of An Advisory BoardLoch Ness, Unicorns & The First-Mover AdvantageDoes This Slide Deck Make Me Look Fat?,  The Long Road to Instant SuccessTop Angel Investors in New EnglandLaunchpad Overview – Angel Video Interview SeriesCustomer Crowdfunding: Not So Fast, EntrepreneursCrowdfunding: You Cannot Make This Stuff Up!Angel Video Interview Series,  VC Investing: Are the Lines Starting to Converge?Thoughts on CrowdfundingEntrepreneur at Work: Caine’s Arcade,  The Crowdfunding Interview (Frank Peters Show), Pattern Matching Can Cause BlindspotsGetting Off The Ground; Early Formation EconomicsPitch Clinic at MassChallenge (Video)Are Entrepreneurs Wild Risk-Takers?Top 20 Dos & Don’ts with Angel Groups & Early Stage FinancingWhat I Look For In An EntrepreneurThe OvertureDo The Right ThingOpen Forum with Angel, Seed and VC Investors (Video)Pick Your Founder/Co-Investors Carefully & Reflections on the Nature of EntrepreneursShould I Wait For A Technical Co-Founder?When Do You Need My Slide Deck?20 Bootstrapping Ideas.
Subscribe – To get an automatic feed of all future posts subscribe to the RSS feed here, or to receive them via email enter your address in the box in the upper right or go here and enter your email address in the box in the upper right. You can also follow me on Twitter @cmirabile and on Google+.

 

Scratchpaper Recommended Links [Ed. 0020 / Investing & Entrepreneurship]

Savings or investment concept, male hand putting coin on a stack of increasing columns of moneyLatest selection of the best stuff I’ve seen lately across the ScratchPaper focus areas of Angel Investing, Entrepreneurship, Business &  Communication, including items on ways angels can hurt companies, how Silicon Valley is having some issues, and how to get people to act on your emails.  Enjoy.

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