Published: Tue, 09 Jul 2013 07:45:57 +0000Copyright: Respective post owners and feed distributors
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:55:13 +0000Applications are open for New York’s seventh annual FinTech Innovation Lab, a 12-week program that I have blogged about a bunch here on AVC. This proram is for early and growth stage companies that have developed cutting edge technology products targeted at financial services customers. The program has a particular interest in: Augmented/ Virtual Reality; […]
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:59:26 +0000Last week Coin Center published a primer on app coins. It is very good. I particularly like this part: Open platforms have proved difficult to create because it has been historically difficult to monetize them even if they become successful—by nature they are public goods. Now, however, the developers of a cloud storage service can […]
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 12:37:58 +0000This is almost a year old, but most of it is still very relevant.
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:15:41 +0000I think selling is the hardest part of investing. Buying is, of course, critical to generating strong investment performance. Figuring out what to buy and when to buy it is what most people think of when they think of investing. But your returns will have as much to do with selling as buying. And buying […]
Sun, 16 Oct 2016 13:41:57 +0000Young companies are a bit like children. They require care and feeding. The feeding part comes naturally to investors. Because that is what we do. We invest capital into young companies in hope of generating large returns on those investments. The caring part comes harder to investors. At least it did to this investor. But […]
Sun, 09 Oct 2016 13:53:26 +0000In the summer of 2003, Brad Burnham and I set out to raise a $100mm early stage venture capital fund. We had both been successful VCs in other firms and we had a thesis that the second wave of the Internet was upon us and that large networks were going to get built in this […]
Sat, 08 Oct 2016 13:51:45 +0000There is more than one way to do VC investing. In this podcast, Jerry Colonna talks to two VCs who are taking different approaches to venture investing.
Sat, 24 Sep 2016 10:34:24 +0000Regular readers know that I am a big fan of Bill Gurley. He and I are in the same generation of VCs. We started our careers in the PC era and learned VC in the first generation of the Internet era. Bill and I also bring a “fundamental investor mindset” to our work which is […]
Wed, 07 Sep 2016 10:45:30 +0000USV is a revolving door when it comes to our analyst program. We hire the smartest young people we can find (Jennifer and Jacqueline are our newest hires) and ask them to spend two years with us learning the VC business and helping us make and manage our investments. Then we ask them to move on […]
Thu, 01 Sep 2016 11:50:33 +0000Jonathan Libov has spent a couple years at USV in our two year analyst program and is about to move on to his next thing. He took the time this week to write down some thoughts on what he has learned as a “junior VC” and it’s worth reading for both investors and entrepreneurs. I […]
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 16:03:36 +0000I am thrilled to welcome Jesse Middleton to the Flybridge family. Jesse is joining us as a General Partner to help lead our NYC office. This hire is a big deal for us. Jesse is the first General Partner we’ve...
Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:30:23 +0000
Early in January 2016, I was thrilled to announce Stephanie Palmeri and Andy McLoughlin becoming Partners! At that time, we filed SEC Form Ds disclosing the creation of two new funds – SoftTech VC V and SoftTech Plus. We’re delighted to announce that both funds have closed at their hard cap, respectively $100M and $50M – great news as we celebrate our 12-year anniversary. Most importantly, we are beyond excited by the myriad of new, radical innovations we see coming from early stage entrepreneurs and the opportunity we have to help them realize their vision with our active support and capital.
To share a bit of background: we invest our funds on a 3-year investment cycle and will be wrapping up Fund IV (that held a final close a couple of years ago) as planned sometime in Q316. Why raise a fund when we had plenty of dry powder in Fund IV? When we discussed our fund raising plans with ... Read more »
Tue, 17 May 2016 23:43:54 +0000I have a new post on my newly designed blog: Growth vs. Profitability and Venture Returns. A reporter from BostInno tweeted that the blog post should have been titled: Profitability isn't cool. You know what's cool? Venture returns. seeingbothsides.com/2016/05/16/gro… via...
Sun, 03 Apr 2016 22:00:05 +0000I've moved out of the dark ages and (finally) shifted from Typepad to WordPress. I will keep this blog site up, but all new posts can be found at Seeing Both Sides. Enjoy!
Sat, 26 Mar 2016 15:58:44 +0000Around this time of year, many students are focused on finding a job in Startup Land and building their careers. If you have your own idea and no one can talk you out of it, that's awesome. But for most...
Thu, 25 Feb 2016 13:20:19 +0000(this post was originally published in Harvard Business Review and is co-authored with Nadav Benbarak of Okta.) Growing revenue and profits is a core objective of most companies, and it is the responsibility of every function to contribute to the...
Fri, 22 Jan 2016 01:10:39 +0000Today, we are announcing co-leading a $1.8m seed investment in Sentenai, an exciting machine learning company based in Boston, alongside our friends at Founder Collective, Project11 as well as a new local seed fund, Hyperplane. Sentenai is one of those...
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 17:00:59 +0000
You got the gist of it – now read on for more details.
First, Stephanie: ever since I met her 5 years ago, I have been impressed by her drive, smarts and resourcefulness. Even though I sort of pushed her away initially, we were lucky enough to have Stephanie join us as Senior Associate then Principal – and sponsor 18 investments across Fund III and IV (including Niche [TWTR], Grovo, and ClassDojo), sourcing and supporting several more. Not only has Stephanie developed the fundamental skills that make a great investor (sourcing, board leadership, fundraising, legal), she has supported companies in good times and challenging ones, and become an invaluable contributor to both our SoftTech family and the broader ecosystem. Thanks to her hard work, Stephanie has demonstrated that she has earned the Title and I am very excited to share the good news: Stephanie is now my Partner.
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 02:32:15 +0000As a former entrepreneur, I have always viewed venture capital as a service business. That’s a funny line for many because, historically, VCs are viewed (and at times reviled) as judges or overlords. When we started Flybridge over thirteen years...
Fri, 08 Jan 2016 17:31:19 +0000Some highlights from Ed Catmull’s Creativity Inc. Ed is the President of Pixar. “If there is more truth in the hallways than in meetings, you have a problem. “The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal. “The truth is, the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of...
Thu, 07 Jan 2016 18:08:43 +0000Paul Graham sparked a furious debate over the last few days about inequality with his blog post, Economic Inequality. He points out that the focus of the dialog should shift from inequality to combating poverty and providing more economic opportunity....
Thu, 17 Dec 2015 02:47:21 +0000A few years ago, I did an analysis on the Boston-based companies that were worth more than $500 million in value, which I called Boston Unicorns. One of the (somewhat depressing) conclusions I made at the time was "there have...
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 14:25:08 +0000I was speaking at an event last night and met a young woman at a large public tech company that was thinking of moving into startup land. She wanted to know whether her skills would be valued in a smaller,...
Mon, 19 Oct 2015 11:00:03 +0000
Back in June, the local Boston tech community together celebrated the ten year anniversary of the Web Innovators Group, affectionately known as “WebInno.” Now Boston’s largest regular tech conference, every few months it draws hundreds of attendees from the entrepreneurial ecosystem – including founders, software engineers, startup executives, and investors. Each gathering showcases early stage […]
Mon, 28 Sep 2015 11:44:32 +0000
A few years ago I replaced all of the decades-old windows in our home with new ones. The entire process was horrible. I used home service lead-gen and recommendation-review sites to identify a half-dozen installers to set up initial in-person consultation appointments. Only half of them even showed up. For those who did, I was […]
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:42:51 +0000
Tales become legends about founders of exceptionally transformative companies who truly struggled to get any investors’ attention early on. These rejection emails to the founder of Airbnb represent just one of the most recent example of this familiar theme. If a startup were obvious, then everybody would be doing it. And it wouldn’t be an […]
Tue, 05 May 2015 13:42:27 +0000
Today, I’m thrilled to publicly announce NextView’s Talent Exchange, a program helping both top talent and NextView-backed startups connect with each other more easily, beginning with Boston companies (which make up just over half our portfolio). Below, I’ll quickly explain the genesis of this initiative and share a few more key details. One of my first […]
The post Introducing the NextView Talent Exchange: Connecting Top Talent to Startups appeared first on GenuineVC.
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:01:41 +0000
All of us at SoftTech are excited to announce that Andy McLoughlin (LinkedIn) will join us as a full-time Venture Partner on April 1st, 2015.
In 2006, Andy co-founded London-based Huddle, an enterprise content collaboration company which has raised over $80M to date. Over the years, he led technology, product, marketing, and strategy, eventually moving to San Francisco in 2010 to establish the company’s US presence.
About five years ago, Andy started his angel investing career. He has built a portfolio of 35+ pre-seed/seed stage investments, mostly in the Saas/B2B space but also covering e-commerce and mobile. He was the very first angel in our own Postmates. His other angel deals include Secret Escapes, Apiary, Tray.io, Buffer, Intercom, and Pipedrive.
When we spoke to founders he backed, Andy was consistently praised for the quality and relevance of his advice, and the value add he was able to deliver despite having “a day job”. We can’t wait to ... Read more »
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 12:33:44 +0000
A couple weeks ago my colleague Dimitri Dadiomov published a post on NextView’s “View From Seed” blog which answered the question “Should we take Harvard MBAs Seriously as Startup Founders?” The (obvious) answer of “yes” he supported with comprehensive research about the entrepreneurial activity coming out of Harvard’s business school. We knew that it was […]
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:35:33 +0000
We’ve launched a speaker series at SoftTech VC for our portfolio company founders and executives. Over the next year, we’ll invite experts and friends to speak to an intimate audience about a wide variety of topics. While much of the content will be “off the record” to encourage open dialog, here’s a peek into our inaugural event featuring Tamara Mendelsohn, VP of Marketing at Eventbrite.
Not many marketers begin as a startup’s first marketing hire and go on to build and lead a 60+ person global marketing team over five years. Tamara broke the mold, joining Eventbrite after earning her MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management to focus on community and over time building out a cross-functional, cross-continent marketing organization. We were excited to pick her brain. Top of mind to the early stage founders and marketing leaders in the room was understanding how Tamara grew a marketing organization from scratch – beginning ... Read more »
Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:14:38 +0000
Conventional wisdom says that the best way to meet with a venture capitalist is to get a warm introduction. (While it’s a good rule of thumb, it’s not entirely true, which I’ve blogged about previously.) However, there’s another way that I’ve seen entrepreneurs use mutual connections that’s even more impactful than a warm introduction: a […]
Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:08:33 +0000
As an entrepreneur, if you’re running a venture capital fundraise effectively, you’re treating the process like a sale process: identifying a set of prospects to fill the top of the funnel, cultivating those relationships over a series of meetings, then narrowing down to a handful of contender firms who will ultimately make an offer to […]
Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:25:59 +0000
It’s official: now two months after the IPO, HubSpot has surpassed the $1B market cap threshold and has become that “pillar” company that the tech ecosystem long anticipated. The benefits have been touted previously: an anchor for attracting and retaining talent in Boston, as well as a breeding ground for the next set of great […]
The post The Unique but Powerful Way the HubSpot Mafia is Impacting Boston Startups appeared first on GenuineVC.
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:05:08 +0000
When Chad Pytel introduced me to Bryan Helmkamp, CEO/Co-founder of Code Climate, I knew that I had to pay attention. Chad is the CEO of thoughtbot, a consulting firm that makes web + mobile apps for early-stage startups. The two companies had been working together for a while, especially as both are deeply embedded within […]
The post The Market Is Hot for Code Climate, NextView’s Newest Investment appeared first on GenuineVC.
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:08:12 +0000This guest post is by Tyler Willis an entrepreneur and angel investor. You can learn more about him on AngelList. For several interesting macro-economic reasons , more and more people are becoming angel investors. This is a good thing – it allows more investors to participate in a high-growth (but high-risk) area of our economy....
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 20:40:29 +0000
Mass transportation is the largest single source of travel within metropolitan areas across the globe, but our current fixed infrastructure approach hasn’t changed since the 19th century. Here in our innovation hub of Boston, the country’s oldest subway tunnel built in 1897 is still in use as part of the MBTA Green Line. Each day […]
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:00:02 +0000Why do we even need to talk about the next wave of greentech? And what is it, anyway? When I started talking about an emerging next wave of greentech entrepreneurs and investors a couple of years ago, it was admittedly just described as "not what we did during the last decade." It was defined mostly by what it was not. And that was on purpose. In the spirit of figuring it out together, the idea was simply to learn the lessons of what had not worked, and to develop a variety of new strategies with more pragmatic approaches across the board. Hardware, software, internet, service-based models, all of them. A big tent. Therefore, the term was somewhat vaguely defined. As we're now exactly one month away from the NextWave Greentech conference, I've been reflecting a bit on some of the lessons learned over the past couple of years. And I think many of these efforts are now converging in a consistent new way of thinking, both for entrepreneurs and investors. It's still a big tent, but one with a consistent theme -- and one that increasingly matches where the overall venture capital community is headed as well. If your goal is to see more greentech startups get funded and eventually succeed, this overlap with the evolution of the general venture model is crucial. It turns out, the overlap is around a pretty simple theme: capital required to get started, and time required to get revenue. First, let's grossly over-generalize today's venture model into two broad buckets: early stage and growth stage. Early stage is the classic, romanticized image of venture capitalists who back startups during their initial creative stage. Growth stage is about putting big dollars behind established companies with significant momentum. Both models are alive and well, although in recent years there's clearly been a shift of emphasis and dollars into growth stage. But growth stage is pretty mercenary, in that it's not very sector-specific. If a startup has an obvious growth and potential exit story, growth-stage investors will back it, almost regardless of business model, technology, etc. Which is all totally fine -- unless you want to see more greentech startups get funded, as growth-stage investors are totally neutral to that goal. Growth stage is about investing in companies that are already on a clear path to success, but we need to see more startups helped onto that path in the first place. Because of the agnostic nature of growth stage, the funding patterns there are less of an endorsement of "next wave" pragmatism or any other theme, as it's just an aggregation of idiosyncratic stories that happened to finally arrive at an attractive stage for such funders. As such, there's no coherent, evident strategy to inform future entrepreneurs and set them on a pathway to success. So therefore the more important constituency to engage consists of early-stage investors. And where are early-stage investors trending these days? Mark Suster has pulled together a great presentation on this topic, "Why It's Morning in VC." It'[...]
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 19:52:17 +0000
Getting into an accelerator is increasingly difficult. While there has been a proliferation accelerators around the world, there has simultaneously been a dramatically increasing number of companies applying to accelerators. In my world, supply and demand never balances out, so if you are on the application side of this equation, it’s important to do everything you can […]
The post Using Startup Next To Get Your Company Accelerator-Ready appeared first on Feld Thoughts.
Sun, 29 Jun 2014 23:44:42 +0000
I woke up to a bunch of VC related things in my twitter stream this morning. I had a nice digital sabbath yesterday so I was a little surprised by how much there was. I tried cranking out a #tweetstorm of them using Little Pork Chop but I found the tweetstream experience to be very unsatisfying and […]
The post When VCs Invest Together, Does Ability or Affinity Matter? appeared first on Feld Thoughts.
Fri, 27 Jun 2014 21:45:36 +0000
Our firm SoftTech VC hit three critical milestones in 2014: we opened our San Francisco office in April, celebrated our ten year anniversary in May, and now with great excitement, we are delighted to announce the close of our latest fund, $85M SoftTech VC IV. This brings our total capital under management to $155M.
Why $85M, which is quite a bit more than our $55M Fund III raised in 2010-11? That fund backed 55 companies over 3 years, as planned. About $25M were allocated to initial investments, and $30M were earmarked for follow-ons. Things worked perfectly until we saw the median size of A rounds increase from $5-6M to $8-10M in the last year – with a few of our companies raising up to $15M. Not a bad problem to have given the traction that they had developed, but these large rounds threw off our reserves model. So we decided to increase the size of Fund IV to allow for ... Read more »
Fri, 27 Jun 2014 04:57:15 +0000
As many of you know, I have a keen interest in the future of digital publishing. One of the reasons we started FG Press was to give control and transparency back to the authors. Specifically, at FG Press the author gets 50% royalty on all books sold (up from the traditional 15%) and we employ the latest […]
The post Going Beyond Amazon: A New Model for Authors, Retailers, and Publishers appeared first on Feld Thoughts.
Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:15:26 +0000We're gearing up for NextWave (register today!), and I really wanted to have FAKEGRIMLOCK keynote the conference. However, the fire commissioner said it would be a safety hazard to have a fire-breathing robot dinosaur show up and possibly eat many of the conference attendees, so that idea didn't work. What's that? You haven't heard of FAKEGRIMLOCK? If you haven't, it just goes to show the continuing (and in my mind, unfortunate) gulf between the IT and the greentech entrepreneurial communities. FAKEGRIMLOCK is a well-known startup robot dinosaur that lives on the internet and punches entrepreneurs in the face until their "fail" falls out. If you're not already following FAKEGRIMLOCK on Twitter, you should -- it's a lot of good advice for fearless entrepreneurs, in a fun format. And he's become an important tech "influencer" (pretty sure he would eat anyone uttering that phrase, however), collaborating with the likes of Eric Ries, Fred Wilson and Brad Feld. And he has authored a fun book of advice for entrepreneurs as well. Oh, and he also makes a bunch of awesome posters and such! So as you might imagine, I was pleased when as an alternative to introducing a safety hazard to NextWave, I was granted the opportunity to interview FAKEGRIMLOCK on the topic of greentech entrepreneurship for this column. A dangerous undertaking, but hey, I'm a greentech investor, so I'm used to danger. As you'll see below, he laid down some challenges for cleantech entrepreneurs. And as we gear up to talk about the ways to drive success out of the next wave of greentech, these are challenges to take to heart. Rob: You usually talk about internet and IT startups, and while there are increasingly a lot of overlapping efforts in the greentech sector, much of the sector remains very separate from the rest of the tech community. What should greentech entrepreneurs learn from internet and IT entrepreneurs, to prevent becoming GRIMLOCK lunch? WHAT LEARN? EVERYTHING. GREENTECH THINK LIKE OLD, FAT, DYING COMPANIES. THAT DUMB. UNLESS GOAL IS TO FAIL. LEARN FROM STARTUPS THAT WIN: 1. BUILD WHAT MARKET WANT, NOT WHAT WISH THEM WANT 2. START SMALL AND SCALE, NOT START BIG AND FAIL 3. IF NEED ARTIFICIAL ADVANTAGE FROM GOVERNMENT OR REGULATION, YOU DOING IT WRONG EVEN IF GREENTECH, IF NO CAN BUILD VERSION THAT WIN IN GARAGE OR TINY LAB WITH HANDFUL OF PEOPLE, BIG LAB AND TEAM NOT GOING TO HELP YOU. DO THAT, MAYBE HAVE CHANCE OF NOT BE LUNCH. NO GUARANTEE. Rob: While there are software/internet-based startups in greentech, many entrepreneurs in the sector are innovating around hardware. Sometimes very big, capital-intensive hardware (almost GRIMLOCK-like, in fact). How can such entrepreneurs still “Win Like Stupid” if they’re tackling efforts like that? BIG, EXPENSIVE HARDWARE DUMB IDEA. WHOLE POINT OF STARTUP IS SMALL AND NIMBLE KILL BIG AND SLOW. START BIG AND[...]
Thu, 26 Jun 2014 06:16:31 +0000
Every single day I have multiple conversations and emails from CEOs and people at companies I work with about how to work with Big Tech Companies. You know – Google, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, SAP, LinkedIn, Cisco, Yahoo, HP, AT&T, Verizon, Icouldkeepgoingforalongtime. But this conversation is not limited to just the […]
The post How Does A Small Company Make A Big Company Successful? appeared first on Feld Thoughts.
Wed, 25 Jun 2014 04:46:55 +0000
Jane Miller‘s first book Sleep Your Way to the TOP is out and available in digital and print. This is Jane’s first book and FG Press‘s second one. Around the Foundry Group Offices we’ve been referring to Jane as “Sheryl Sandberg meets Chelsea Handler.” If you happened to catch my interview with Jane during Boulder Startup […]
The post Our Latest Book – Sleep Your Way to the TOP – Is Shipping appeared first on Feld Thoughts.
Wed, 25 Jun 2014 01:08:55 +0000
I just read an amazing post from Nikki Durkin, the founder and CEO of 99dresses. It’s titled My startup failed, and this is what it feels like and it is one of the best posts I’ve ever read about startup failure. I almost titled this post “What Failure Tastes and Smells Like” because Nikki does such an […]
Tue, 24 Jun 2014 07:50:01 +0000
MIT is a special place. I was a student there from 1983 – 1990, got two degrees, and was booted out of a Ph.D. program well before I finished. I lived in a fraternity (ADP) on the edge of Central Square (351 Mass Ave) for four years. My first office was that address – for […]
Tue, 24 Jun 2014 00:22:37 +0000
Google dominates search. Sure, there’s a thing called Bing and a few other choices out there, but everything ends up being the blue and purple link thing curated mostly by machines. In an effort to experiment with a different approach, we recently led an AngelList syndicated investment in one potential search challenger, a Kansas City […]
Mon, 23 Jun 2014 18:25:31 +0000
Our portfolio company JumpCloud is running a survey to dig deeper into the professional lives of IT folks and their move to DevOps. If you are open to sharing your thoughts and experiences, please take their survey. It’s only about five minutes long and they are sharing all of the raw data (anonymized, of course). The survey […]
The post How Much Do IT Folks Work? Take A Survey And Potentially Win A Fitbit appeared first on Feld Thoughts.
Sun, 22 Jun 2014 22:50:41 +0000
I’ve been stalled trying to get through two books: Startup Opportunities (with Sean Wise) and Startup Metrics (with Seth Levine). Dane McDonald (FG Press CEO) and my assistant Eugene Wan created a book cover recently to try to inspire me, as an homage to Do More Faster (with David Cohen). It worked. I’ve gotten a […]
Tue, 17 Jun 2014 17:25:10 +0000As the time approaches to get serious about NextWave14 (coming up in just a few weeks!), I thought it would be a good time to take a step back and review how the overall "sector" is doing right now. And by and large, it's a happy picture. The markets are booming I put "sector" in quotation marks above because we all know that this is really a collection of a wide variety of markets and applications gathered under a consistent investment thesis. Cleantech isn't a sector; it's a lens for finding big opportunities across sectors. But across many of those markets right now, we're seeing amazing growth continue. Solar, especially rooftop and community-scale, continues to boom. And it's only going to continue as costs continue to be driven down. For the first time, more than one-third of all rooftop solar installations in Q1 happened without any state-provided incentives at all. Large-format electricity storage is still in its early days, but is expected to grow quickly, with as much as sevenfold capacity growth in the U.S. by 2020. Electric vehicle sales keep setting monthly records. They were ten times higher in May than they were just three years ago. Microgrids are in their early stages, but are poised for a big breakout -- especially since some big corporate players are quietly positioning themselves to drive the market starting this year. Automated demand-response markets are projected to grow by a factor of 15 over the next decade. And energy efficiency has never been hotter, thanks to new scalable business models, financing, lower costs, and increased buy-in from all the major business, market and political stakeholders. LED lighting installations are growing at a 435 percent CAGR. No, that's not a typo. The above statistics are just a short list of relevant market stats -- markets for new technologies and business models in other areas like water, food and transportation are all growing quickly as well. And let's not forget, the market opportunities are perhaps even bigger for the developing world. Ten years ago, I remember a lot of optimism about the potential for exciting market growth in cleantech. Now that's a reality. It's very exciting to see. As McKinsey recently stated quite plainly: "The world is on the cusp of a resource revolution." The big corporates are jumping in From fuels to smart buildings to storage to transportation, there's never been more serious corporate interest in the next wave of technologies and business models. As I recently pointed out, a large proportion of the growth-stage cleantech venture deals now being done include -- and sometimes are even led by -- corporate investors. Anecdo[...]