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Ask the VC

Founders, Their Startups and (the lack of) Storytelling

Written by Paul on February 18th, 2013

At one point or another, every founder has received the “just focus on traction” advice. And it’s good advice. The problem is that very few founders are also told to learn to “tell a good story” as well. For most people, communication isn’t something you’re born with but it is something you can learn.

When I’m coaching founders on their pitch, I spend the time a little something like this:

  • 1/2 time is coaching content (traction, vision, sexy graphs, etc)
  • 1/2 time is

Investors: Risk And Uncertainty Are Not The Same Thing

Written by Paul on December 6th, 2012

[I’m speaking at the Asian Venture Capital Journal event here in Mumbai later today and these are the speaker notes I’ll be using for my talk. The audience is primarily LPs which is a fancy way of saying that they’re the people that give investors like me money.]

Today, we’re supposed to be talking about mitigating investment risk. Here’s the problem though: risk, as defined by economist Frank Knight in 1921, is something you can put a price on. In other …

The Art of Hiring: How To Hire The Best

Written by Paul on November 20th, 2012

The best people are already doing something they love. The ones on the market aren’t always the ones you want. If you want the best people working with you, you only have two options:

  1. Inspire them. Get them to fall in love with your vision.
  2. Get the timing right. Catch them when they’re already making a move.

Regardless of which one you choose, have a game plan before you do anything. (The same could be said about fundraising and anything else where one side …

Ask the VC: Tactical Tips for Taking Advantage of Demo Days or Any Other Investor Hotspots

Written by Paul on October 26th, 2012

Demo days are a funny thing. Everyone seems to think it’s about bringing startups and investors together but my observation is that many of these events turn out to be nothing more than a social event for investors (and wanna-be investors) to catch up with each other. If you’re the startup trying to raise money at your demo day event, you’re a sucker. Smart founders use demo days as forcing functions when they’re generating heat for their startup.

I’ve been to …

Want to get inside the head of an active investor?

Written by Paul on October 23rd, 2012

I’ve been an employee, I’ve been a founder and now I’m an investor. (In that order, actually.) When it comes to time-based experience, I’m still a noob — I’ve been on this side of the table for about three years now. However, what I lack in time, I’ve more than made up for in experience — 500 Startups’ approach to high volume early stage investing and selective follow-ons has exposed me to hundreds of investments in a very short amount …

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