Founders and Fundraising

Why It’s Okay To Start Your Company During A Recession

It was surreal when we were raising money at the height of the Great Recession. Sand Hill Road was essentially closed for business for early stage startups for close to one year. [Do you want to grow your business? Maybe I can help. Click here.] I didn’t plan to raise money at the worst time…

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How Much Help Should You Expect From Your Investors?

If you go on just about any investor website, you’ll likely see the investor touting how they will help you recruit and build your team. The reality is buyer beware. In other words, your investor’s ability to help you may not be what you think it is. I’ll explain why in this short video.  …

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How Do You Extend Your Runway Before Raising Money?

There’s only one thing you have complete control over when you start a company. Only one. Everything else, to some degree or other, is out of your control. What is this one thing that’s in your control? It’s your cash. As I said at the beginning, everything else isn’t completely in your control. Let me…

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When Should You Stop Giving Equity To Your Team?

I was in a board of directors meeting for a company I am advising. The discussion moved to stock options. One of the investors, “Michael” said, “We should set the strike price as high as possible so employees that quit will not exercise their options.” Most of the other people were nodding their heads in…

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Why Your 51% Ownership Guarantees You Nothing

There are so many things you think are important when you start your company that are usually meaningless. At the top of the list is equity splits and control. The thought process goes like this. “If I have 51% ownership, then I control the votes in the company. I can’t ever be fired, and I…

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What’s The Best Advice You Can Get About Fundraising?

I remember talking with my Dad about the absolute necessity of having Tier 1 investors for my company. I was an EIR (Entrepreneur in Residence ) at a San Francisco based VC fund at the time, and I had just formed my company. In fact, we hadn’t even started raising money. Yet here I was,…

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What Are The 11 Steps You Can Take When A Cofounder Quits?

I started my company with two co-founders: Jim and John (not their real names). I was the CEO, Jim was the marketing guy, and John was the engineering guy. My two co-founders and I had worked together previously.  We understood the plan and direction we were going in. We started pitching VCs after working on…

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Why Your Startup Doesn’t Need A Board Of Directors

“How many people do I need on my the board?” I asked our attorney Marcia when I was incorporating our company. “You need to have a board of directors, but it doesn’t have to be large. In fact, you can be the only member of your board when you’re starting out.” “Really,” I answered. “The…

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What Are The 3 Best Tips For Negotiating Your Term Sheet?

The first term sheet I ever negotiated took 40 minutes in elapsed time to negotiate. The longest a term sheet took to negotiate that I’ve been involved with was 10 months. And the investor was the same investor in both cases. It’s a true story. [Do you want to grow your business? Maybe I can…

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