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Startups

Rocking Out Your AngelList Profile

Written by Paul on June 6th, 2012

AngelList is awesome. In fact, we encourage all of our startups to use AngelList to raise money – it’s clearly useful to both founders and investors. Two-way transparency FTW!

First things first, don’t make your startup profile public immediately — take a few minutes to check out the tips below. It’s better to spend an extra hour up front to polish things up, first impressions count.

  • Start with a little bit of research. AngelList makes it so

Interaction design isn’t replacing technical prowess, it’s requiring startups to have even more of it

Written by Paul on May 29th, 2012

Chris Dixon recently wrote about the experience economy and this particular part caught my eye:

The era of competing over technical specifications is over. Users want better experiences from devices, applications, websites, and the offline services they enable. It is no coincidence that interaction design is replacing technical prowess as the primary competency at startups.

I totally agree with the first part of the statement but fundamentally disagree with the last sentence above. Interaction design isn’t replacing technical prowess, it’s requiring startups to have even

Startup Founders: Stop Worrying About Your Local Startup Scene, Focus On Your Business

Written by Paul on May 22nd, 2012

This post was inspired by a discussion on Facebook where I started a comment with this: in 2012+, why does it matter where anyone’s located anymore?

It used to be that startups had to chase the money/investors and, because travel was usually expensive, they had to look in their backyard or move elsewhere. These days, that balance has shifted: cross-country flights can be obtained for <$500 roundtrip and capital is following the talent, regardless of location. In the case …

Transparency Goes Both Ways

Written by Paul on May 15th, 2012

If you’re an investor, it’s harder than ever to be a big fish in a small pond. If you can’t (or won’t) fund a company on fair terms, someone else will.

If you’re a founder, it’s harder than ever to raise money on a mediocre idea. After all, if I see a company with more traction halfway around the world, why wouldn’t I invest in it instead?

As much as AngelList has helped founders obtain capital from investors that may not be …

Startup Traction and Defensibility

Written by Paul on May 9th, 2012

In the past, it was often the case that the skills required to build online startups were hard to find. If you could find the people with those skills and subsequently build something, you’d tell potential investors that you had some sort of secret sauce (read: intellectual property) that sets you apart. Today, it’s not hard to build, test and launch a startup within a weekend. More importantly, it’s become easier than ever to obtain paying customers in that same …

On Investor Differentiation

Written by Paul on May 1st, 2012

Earlier today, VentureBeat wrote about the dirty secret behind the incubator boom. Francisco raises an important point: other than initial money, what do these incubators bring to the table? The broader question is, what value do all investors bring to the table? As access to early stage deal flow opens up to more potential investors (see: AngelList), investors are being forced to prove their value. Especially if you want to get into the best deals.

For …

Early Stage Fundraising Tips

Written by Paul on April 25th, 2012

If you’re trying to raise money today, the fact of the matter is that it’s getting harder: as the web gets bigger, the world gets smaller. More founders, from all over the world, are going after the same pool of money.

(As an aside, crowdfunding may make the initial round a little easier to raise but I suspect it will actually raise the bar for folks trying to raise a subsequent round from “traditional” investors. You’ll have even more founders, many …

Startup Product Development Tips

Written by Paul on October 22nd, 2010

I spoke at a Founder Institute DC event last night along with Gabe Zichermann (by the way, you’re missing out on some seriously good stuff if you haven’t seen Gabe speak elsewhere) and Matt Howard. If you’re in the startup trenches, these tips are for you.
FI: Product and Service Development

On building awesome business applications

Written by Paul on October 13th, 2010

As recently as five years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to see startups raising hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, before they had a customer-ready product. Mostly, this was due to the high costs involved with internet startups (servers and bandwidth weren’t cheap). Things were expensive and you had to obtain permission from investors (via funding) to do any of it.

Today, that barrier is almost non-existent. Many founders are focusing on ramen profitability, …

What is Smart Money anyways?

Written by Paul on October 12th, 2010

If you’re an investor, simply having money isn’t doing it anymore:

I was talking with one of my favorite entrepreneurs the other day, who was trying to choose a lead for his next financing round. This is a guy who had plenty of options. Facetiously, sort of, he said he was planning on picking the VC who had the most unique visitors to his blog. That, of course, sent a chill down my under-publicized spine. Again, i

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