Joe Caruso – Angel Video Interview Series

[This post is part of an on-going series of video interviews with members of the start-up community – see a list of links to the full series here.]

A CEO turned professional board member, volunteer, organizer, angel investor, and most importantly, advocate for entrepreneurs, Joe Caruso is a fixture on the early stage scene in Boston. Always quick to compliment, and hesitant to criticize, Joe wears his passion for start-ups on his sleeve. He has been an angel since long before it was a commonplace thing to do, and has countless deals and board stints to his credit.  Despite all that Joe remains as enthusiastic, energetic, curious and approachable as ever. I consider him both a friend and a mentor. So when we got together for a bite of lunch last week, I figured it was high time to add him to the video interview series.trans.gif  [Read more…]

Does This Slide Deck Make Me Look Fat?

Um, yes. Too much product detail. Empty calories. Get rid of them. Why?  First of all, because you have to get through it in 15 minutes and there is no way. But more importantly because all that detail detracts from your message. Yes, you are justifiably proud of your incredibly sophisticated product and, yes, you need to educate your investors to some degree about its many intricacies. Your investor pitch is neither the time nor the place. You want to keep product details at the “only what is absolutely necessary” level. And with the ones you include, you want to focus on benefits, not features.

Don’t tell your investors what your product does, tell them why it does it. Details can be drawn out in the Q&A and during due diligence, so it is not appropriate to go into depth in the pitch. Great pitches tell a compelling story, usually from the perspective of the customer. Remember, success in a pitch is not defined as telling investors everything about your company, it is defined as engaging their interest enough to generate a follow-up meeting. Keep it simple, jargon free and interesting. And for the love of God, practice your delivery.

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If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: Customer Crowdfunding: Not So Fast, EntrepreneursThe Long Road to Instant SuccessAngel 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)Why Angels Chase ElectronsBoards vs. Advisory BoardsDelusional EconomicsThat Vision ThingThe Power of An Advisory BoardLoch Ness, Unicorns & The First-Mover AdvantageAre Entrepreneurs Wild Risk-Takers?Top 20 Dos & Don’ts with Angel Groups & Early Stage FinancingWhat I Look For In An EntrepreneurThe OvertureOpen 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.
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Ralph Sheridan – Angel Video Interview Series

[This post is part of an on-going series of video interviews with members of the start-up community – see a list of links to the full series here.]

A chemist turned turned IT security and clean tech expert, Ralph Sheridan has been buying and investing in companies for over 30 years. For the last five or so, he’s been concentrating on doing it with his own money as an angel investor. Ralph’s a thoughtful and intelligent investor who is always wiling to make time to speak with an entrepreneur (see the video at the 1:30 mark if you don’t believe me!). He’s also been a great source of advice and counsel for me, so when we got together for breakfast recently, I figured it was high time to add him to the video interview series. This conversation was recorded in May 2012. (Email subscribers, click here for video.) [Read more…]

Pitch Clinic at MassChallenge (Video)

Christopher Mirabile warming up the crowd.

Ham Lord, Gail Hoffman and I recently held a pitch clinic at MassChallenge.  The entrepreneurs were good sports: both Claudia Espinola of Casa Couture and Krishna Ramchandran of UberSense bravely gave rough, outdated pitches to allow the critiques a bit more bite.  It was a lot of fun, followed by a great Q&A.  Video below (case-sensitive password is Round2Pitch). [Read more…]

Basil Peters – Angel Video Interview Series

[This post is part of an on-going series of video interviews with members of the start-up community – see a list of links to the full series here.]

With the possible exception of Eric Ries (The Lean Start-Up), no one has had a greater impact on angel investors’ current thinking than Basil Peters, who has been preaching the gospel of “early exits” tirelessly for the last several years. (It’s obvious I am a disciple in some situations when you read a post of mine like Why Angels Chase Electrons). Basil quite literally wrote the book on this topic (it’s called Early Exits) and he is a frequent, and excellent, speaker and advisor on the subject. He is also a terrifically nice guy and a true gentleman (or maybe it is just that he is Canadian), so it was an absolute pleasure to interview him for my video interview series.  [Read more…]

Frank Peters – Angel Video Interview Series

[This post is part of an on-going series of video interviews with members of the start-up community – see a list of links to the full series here.]

Few people outside of the early-stage community probably realize there is a terrific show devoted to the topic of angels, angel investing, angel groups and entrepreneurship. But angel investor Frank Peters has been cranking an excellent one out for several years. There are a ton of great shows – worth a troll through the archives.  In addition to being a fan of the show, I have enjoyed getting to know Frank over the years, so I was quick to seize the opportunity to interview him for my video interview series. [Read more…]

Ten Rules For Navigating in The Age of Outrage

Is Social Media the New Participatory Democracy?

Verizon just folded like a cheap lawn chair on their recently-announced plan to impose a ridiculous $2 fee for customers who used a one-time electronic bill payment feature on their website. Turns out that charging customers for the right to pay you was not popular: the internet rose up and roared. Almost immediately after announcing it, Verizon was faced with a 50,000+ signature petition demanding that they withdraw the proposed new fee. The protestors even raised the ire of regulators who publicly expressed concern and threatened to have a closer look. (Some WSJ coverage here.) Verizon had no choice but to beat a hasty and humiliating retreat.

I think this is the latest example a very broad and very deep trend at work.

[Read more…]

That Vision Thing

What is the best way for an entrepreneur to balance demonstrating the large scope of his/her vision and opportunity space on the one hand, versus showing she is tighly focused on a realistic near term go-to-market strategy on the other hand?

Since I repeat this advice constantly, I figured I’d post it once and for all.

[Read more…]

Localytics CEO on Steve Jobs, Raising Capital, Mobile Apps & TechStars

Here’s a short video interview with the Founder and CEO of one of my portfolio companies, Raj Aggarwal (@analyticsraj) of Localytics.  Raj sat down for a few minutes with Keith Cline of VentureFizz.  In this short video interview, Raj talks about the origins of Localytics, his experience raising money from Launchpad Venture Group and others, his pick axes & shovels strategy for Localytics, and his experience working for Steve Jobs on defining the early iPhone business model…

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LinkedIn’s Snowball Effect

Am I alone in noticing a pronounced snowball effect with LinkedIn lately?  As I noted in my post on their 100M member milestone in the Spring of 2011, I was an early-adopter of LinkedIn, joining before approximately 99.8% of the current members (I was member number 231,537 out of the 100M+ current users).  I attribute this to the fact that I was working in a technology company when LinkedIn started, and I was generally interested in the nascent social networking area, so I received early invitations and ended up fiddling around with the new site.

And as a result of my joining early,…

[Read more…]