When speaking with founders and private growth investors, we hear countless references to “multiples paid” on current or near-term revenue; both obsess over this because a higher multiple translates to a higher valuation.
We’ve found time and again that the best Founders seek to understand the frameworks underlying success, much more than the tactics. While tactics vary, frameworks are often maps that lead to foundational truths and North Stars toward building great companies.
How CEOs Think: 5 Mental Models to Shift from Founder to CEO
July 21, 2020
Now that I am an early-stage investor, I am often asked about my journey from Founder to CEO at Trulia. How did I navigate the transition from the early days of building a product, to the later days of managing an organization of 1000+ employees? How does one transform himself or herself from being an individual contributor or product manager, into a successful company leader at scale?
How, When & Why VCs Do “Due Diligence” Pre and Post Term Sheet
June 30, 2020
Every investor is a bit different, but I think it’s important to understand investors do 2 stages of due-diligence: pre-term sheet, and post-term sheet.
In the old days … there was more time. VCs could do a ton of diligence over weeks before getting to a term sheet. Customer diligence, IP diligence, financial diligence, team diligence, etc. But things, in many cases, are just faster now.
One question I hear a lot is that people still have a hard time wrapping their head around the famous Marshall McLuhan line, The medium is the message. It’s a genuinely hard concept! You can’t explain it in a few easy sound bites.
Product Zeitgeist Fit: A Cheat Code for Spotting and Building the Next Big Thing
January 9, 2020
It’s a Silicon Valley truism that product-market fit matters most for a startup. A founder’s ability to achieve that elusive goal is what separates the mega-donkey-deca-unicorn success stories from the vast majority of startups that either die quick and sudden deaths or peter out slowly, unnoticed.
The Top 7 Mistakes I Learned From Hundreds of Entrepreneurs
January 7, 2020
I talk with entrepreneurs all the time — Startup founders and Innovators. We talk about successes and failures. We talk about their journey, their vision, what worked and what didn’t. I talk to both established founders and newbies in equal measure, plus everything in between.
You need one of four things to make your startup a candidate for VC investment
December 17, 2019
I spend most of my consulting days with founders and teams ranging from idea stage to minimum viable product (MVP) to early commercialisation, so I get asked one question a lot, “What will angel or venture capital investors want to see from us before we’re good candidates for investment?”
How Startups Measure Success Before They Generate Revenue
October 25, 2019
Let’s talk about whether or not you can determine a startup will be a success before it actually brings in any money. Because while there’s no good way to do that, there are some cheats.
Are You Ready To Lead Your Startup Through the Growth Stage?
October 22, 2019
Most of us entrepreneurs chase success like a dog chases a car — we don’t know what to do with it when we catch it. That’s because most of us have at least one weakness in our growth game.
Startup Fundraising 101: The Pros and Cons of Different Sources of Funding
September 23, 2019
So you’re raising money for your startup. You have a product and a little traction, and now you need to grow. Who do you talk to? How do you get the round closed as quickly as possible without screwing your long-term prospects?
September 16, 2019
Given how important managing cash is to companies, it’s surprisingly hard to get visibility into one’s cash position, and also to know when a cash crunch is looming, a treasury consultant said in a webinar on Tuesday.
August 12, 2019
In all the companies I founded and invested in, one thing was always clear about leading a startup — it’s hard. Really hard. Most Founders won’t come to their startups with years of leadership experience. Yet I’ve seen firsthand that there is a direct link between a Founder’s leadership skills and the outcome of their startup.
How VCs Decide to Take a First Meeting – 12 Reasons
August 16, 2019
As an early stage Founder, you need to get inside the heads of VCs. Like you, VCs have a job to do, and they have a limited number of meetings they can take. So once they get introduced to you, the first thing they need to do is decide whether to have a meeting with you… or not.
From Zero to IPO: How Growth Needs to Evolve at Every Startup Stage
July 31, 2019
Brian Rothenberg’s career has spanned every stage of startup growth, from scrappy zero to triumphant IPO. We’ll start with a snapshot of “zero”: It’s 2009, and Rothenberg and his SkillSlate co-founder Bartek Ringwelski are piled on the seat of a rickety Vespa knockoff, zooming precariously through the streets of Manhattan to their next pitch meeting.
July 18, 2019
Amy Sun joined Sequoia as a partner in 2018 after working as a product manager for Facebook and Uber. A lifelong painter, she says her creative process has a lot in common with company-building: she starts with an idea, then explores new directions as she goes, seeing where the process takes her.
The Fundraising Checklist: 13 Proof Points for Series A
July 3, 2019
Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a transformation of the seed and series A financing environment that has changed the game for Founders – the hurdles are now higher. To give Founders every chance at success, we’re making public our Series A checklist. While it’s focused on raising a top Series A, it’s applicable to all early-stage fundraising.
June 19, 2019
No one can ignore the power of a pitch. It’s tremendously valuable for entrepreneurs, as introducing your company to the public attracts investors, clients, partners, and talents for your business. Pitching your company may be one of the most important things you have to do as a founder: it demonstrates your own understanding of your own business.
June 18, 2019
Over the last decade or so, I’ve compiled a metrics sheet to summarise a SaaS business. While no living document like this is ever perfect, this is currently the best board-level summary of the overall health of a business I have found. I’m sharing it so that others may benefit and improve it. If you have suggestions, please email me.
May 30, 2019
I was reminded yesterday how much of a shit show raising seed capital via SAFE notes is. I can’t and won’t get into why I was reminded of that, but let’s just say nobody wants to go there.
April 4, 2019
To pitch is to convince, compel, to persuade and sway. It’s a subtle art and one that needs to be mastered if we hope to close an investment round, secure the needed support, or convince whichever audience of whatever worthiness.
James Currier is one of Silicon Valley’s foremost experts in growth and network effects. A four-time serial entrepreneur, having founded companies like Tickle (150 million users), Wonderhill Gaming (45 million users), he helped more than 10 companies get to more than 10 million users, including Goodreads and Poshmark
A decade ago there weren’t any private cloud companies valued at $1 billion. Today, there are 55 private cloud unicorns. If we include the additional 44 public cloud companies, there are 99 cloud players valued over $1 billion.
You’re more likely hear about the companies that venture capitalists said “yes” to — the big funding rounds, the success stories, and the unicorns. But the day-to-day reality of being a VC is that we spend ~99% of our time saying “no.” It’s a core competency of any VC. Or at least it should be.
What’s Really Disrupting Business? It’s Not Technology
Technology doesn’t drive disruption—customers do. In a new book, marketing professor Thales Teixeira argues that successful disruptors are faster to spot and serve emerging customer needs than larger competitors.
Can Lambda School Become a $100M Business? A Growth Case Study
When I graduated in 2014 with a 4-year marketing degree, I realized how little I learned that was directly applicable to the needs of employers. It wasn’t until spending an entire summer taking online courses that I landed my first job in the tech industry.
All Things Sales! 16 Mini-Lessons for Startup Founders
As a former CEO and software engineer (Citrix, XenSource, VERITAS, etc.), board member of GitHub (recently acquired by Microsoft), and lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Busines, a16z general partner Peter Levine is constantly asked “Why sales?” by entrepreneurs and technical founders.
After 25 years studying innovation, here is what I have learned
It’s been more than 25 years since I wrote my first book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. Since that time I’ve learned that the best answers to the enormous problems we are struggling with always starts with asking the right question.
Help! I want to pitch VCs but don’t want anyone stealing my idea
Don’t worry about someone stealing your idea. Everyone thinks what they are doing is so important and big and special. But here’s the surprising part: That doesn’t mean other people will want to go do it.
Billionaire Masayoshi Son–not Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg–has the most audacious vision for an AI-powered utopia where machines control how we live. And he’s spending hundreds of billions of dollars to realize it. Are you ready to live in Masa World?
Tom Peters reflects on a half-century spent studying management. Tom Peters earned his MBA and PhD at Stanford Graduate School of Business in the 1970s, under the unconventional tutelage of organizational psychologists Eugene Webb and James March.
Blockchain Can Wrest the Internet From Corporations’ Grasp
AS THE INTERNET has evolved over its 35-year lifespan, control over its most important services has gradually shifted from open source protocols maintained by non-profit communities to proprietary services operated by large tech companies.
When you meet startups and VCs these days, there’s usually a lot of verbiage spent on defining stage (pre-seed, seed, post-seed, pre-A, Early A, A, Late A, B, C…) As a venture eco-system, we continue to struggle with this.
September 16, 2019
At Think+, our primary goal is to help our portfolio companies go from Seed to Series A as smoothly and quickly as possible. Every round comes with its own specific set of challenges, but what makes series A particularly challenging is that traction alone is not enough and you need to show predictability, scalability, and repeatability.