My Reddit AMA on Crowd-Funding

Reddit LogoAt the invitation of The Capital Network, I did my first Reddit Ask Me Anything. It was pretty fun. To do an AMA, you hang out for a specified time and anyone on the internet machine can ask you a question. Mine was all about crowd-funding – the new rules, issues, questions, concerns. Some good nuggets in there. You can read through the Q&A here. Or if you are based in the Boston area and want more detail, you can check out the TCN event it was promoting here.

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If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy my other posts on Angel InvestingCrowd SourcingEntrepreneurship.
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What’s Your Story? Pitch Deck Flow

Oirase Stream

Augustin Rafael Reyes

Competent entrepreneurs can explain their company in terms of what the product does. Good entrepreneurs can explain their company in terms of their customer and their market. Funded entrepreneurs can pitch their company in terms that an investor can relate to.

For most entrepreneurs, it’s not easy or intuitive to put the investor version of the story together. They can talk a blue streak about the product, the customer, maybe the market. But they cannot pitch the business as a good investment in a way the investor can quickly grab onto.
Turns out, there is an easy formula that works nearly universally. The key to this formula is that it covers all the required subjects, but strings them together into a coherent and engaging narrative flow. Once you grok the formula, it all kind of clicks and you suddenly understand what it is you are trying to convey. From then on, it’s easy. (Note in addition to talking about the subjects here, I have also discussed why you should sweat your executive summary here, talked about the importance of keeping a pitch deck lean here, and about the importance of practicing your delivery here.)

[Read more…]

An Angel’s Thanksgiving

Adapted from an article originally published by the author in Inc. Magazine.

Entrepreneurs, let’s be honest: nothing inspires gratitude in the heart of an investor quite like a good, timely exit. Exit liquidity, after all, is the necessary force that makes our collective world go round. But that doesn’t mean Thank youangels don’t appreciate all the other quirky, sometimes fleeting, but always satisfying benefits of working with you along the way. Fact is, we are nothing without you.

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” W. Clement Stone
“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” W.J. Cameron
“On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.” William Jennings Bryan

So during this season of thankfulness, let’s take a moment to consider what angels are thankful to you for. We are thankful for: [Read more…]

Fool Born Every Minute – So You Want To Be An Entrepreneur (Inc. Column)

I’ve been contributing a column at Inc. Magazine devoted to the topic of de-mystifying angels and the early-stage investing process.  A recent piece was a list of key books every would-be and new entrepreneur should read.

booksFool Born Every Minute (So You Think You Want to Be An Entrepreneur?)

Could you be an entrepreneur? A start-to-finish reading list for entrepreneurs and people who think they want to be.

Entrepreneurship has come a long way toward being a better-understood and accessible way of life. But it will never be completely mainstream, because it’s not for everyone. Consider the temperament and skills required. Entrepreneurs need a broad skillset and, equally important, a high degree of awareness about their weaknesses. It’s a lonely, difficult, risky, frustrating, and sometimes scary path to choose.

Do you have what it takes? To help you figure that out, I’ve assembled a list of critical reading every would-be entrepreneur should digest. The list is not comprehensive–I have purposely tried to make it as short as possible. This core set of thoughtful materials will help immensely with decision making about your path and execution of it, if you decide to pursue it.

What’s It Like? What Does It Take?

The first question to resolve is whether you have it in you. Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh (et al) is a very readable exploration of the psychology and temperament of the successful entrepreneur. A good resource for understanding the massive scope of skills necessary is the simply titled Entrepreneurship by William D. Bygrave and Andrew Zacharakis. This book will give you a nuts-and-bolts overview of virtually all aspects of the process (and will serve as a useful desk reference later). If 90 percent of the material in Entrepreneurship seems uninteresting or overwhelming, it’s time to write a résumé.

There Is No I in Team

It has been said that all startup problems are people problems…

[Surf over to Inc. Magazine to finish the story.]

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 my other posts on Angel InvestingEntrepreneurshipVideo Interview Series, or my recent curated links you might have missed on: Big Tech & MobileInternet, IoT, Social, CybersecurityInvesting & Entrepreneurship.

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+.

Career Advice – Grad School Angst

Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Not everybody I deal with in the start-up world knows of my secret past-life. To frame this post, it is necessary to come clean and fess up that I am a recovered corporate and securities lawyer. Because I am one of the ones “who got out,” I get a ton of requests give career advice to grad students or speak on career panels. I was even a chapter in a terrific book on the subject.

Since it feels inefficient to repeat myself, and I can help more people by putting it out there in writing, here’s one recent exchange that is so complete and contains so many concepts I repeatedly touch on over and over (including big cosmic themes at the end), that it is worth just republishing verbatim and unedited (except to hide real names). [Read more…]

7 Reasons Why Angel Investing Became Serious Finance (Inc. Column)

I’ve been contributing a column at Inc. Magazine devoted to the topic of de-mystifying angels and the early-stage investing process.  My first piece was on the seismic forces which have slowly but profoundly re-shaped the early stage investing landscape.

pan_WallStreet_373617 Reasons Why Angel Investing Became Serious Finance

Discover the forces converging to make angel investment a serious source of capital for savvy, high-growth focused entrepreneurs.

Why does it seem like angel investing received more press coverage in the last few years than in its first few hundred years combined? Private investing has suddenly become part of mainstream consciousness.

What’s going on? It’s more than just an academic question. As an active angel and co-head of one of the largest and busiest U.S. angel groups, I’ve watched and charted these market changes since the early 1990s.

In just a couple decades a handful of seismic forces affecting early-stage financing have combined to make angel investing a very different business. The result? Angel investors have become a serious source of capital for savvy high-growth entrepreneurs.

Seven key trends have fueled this radical transformation.

[Surf over to Inc. Magazine to finish the story.]

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 my other posts on Angel InvestingEntrepreneurshipVideo Interview Series, or my recent curated links you might have missed on: Big Tech & MobileInternet, IoT, Social, CybersecurityInvesting & Entrepreneurship.

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+.

Recommended Links (Ed. 0046 / 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 Facebook’s plan to conquer the world, whether the internet of things is the beginning or the end of the world and whether Google+ matters. Enjoy.

[Read more…]

Recommended Links (Ed. 0045 / Big Tech & Mobile)

Apple LogoLatest selection of the best stuff I’ve seen lately across the ScratchPaper focus areas of Apple, Google, Amazon, Mobile, Photography, Gadgets and other Big Tech, including items on whether the new Apple under Tim Cook is any different, Amazon’s war with Hachette, and Marissa Mayer’s secret plans for Yahoo. Enjoy.

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Recommended Links (Ed. 0044 / 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 whether crowd funding is a disaster waiting to happen, whether we are in a tech bubble, whether PowerPoint ruined General Motors, and how to get people to read your emails. Enjoy.

[Read more…]

Recommended Links (Ed. 0043 / 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 what the Internet of Things means for you, for the enterprise, for networks, for humankind, whether it is time for Twitter to start filtering out some of the noise and repetition, and what we should actually expect when we sign up for a kickstarter. Enjoy.

[Read more…]