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The COVID Crisis and Sub-Scale M&A 150 150 bsadmin

The COVID Crisis and Sub-Scale M&A

What we see is that acquisitions are still happening in specific sectors, though at a slower pace with lower valuations, with a higher focus on immediate returns.

Sub-Scale Exit Preparation 150 150 bsadmin

Sub-Scale Exit Preparation

Even in the best of times, most sub-scale startups treat documentation, process, and exit preparation as a chore to be done later. But as these companies (SellCos for rest of this article) look towards a potential exit, they will quickly realize how much work needs to be completed just to satisfy due diligence in an acquisition.

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4 Tips for Getting Product Management Right (While You’re Doing it All Wrong) 150 150 bsadmin

4 Tips for Getting Product Management Right (While You’re Doing it All Wrong)

There’s a right way to do software product management. There are schools to teach it, certifications prove it, and plenty of articles on it. This is not one of them. This is an article on how to manage an early-stage product when resources are too constrained to do it perfectly. When money is too tight…

Founder Passion Versus Investor Fiduciary bsadmin

Founder Passion Versus Investor Fiduciary

I frequently hear investors say they are looking for passionate founders. I think in this instance “passionate” is just a proxy for “driven.” Driven founders work hard, and push through adversity to get to success. Really, investors are not interested in just any flavor of passion. It’s important to consider whether yours is the type…

Study the Wall Before You Focus on the Road bsadmin

Study the Wall Before You Focus on the Road

“When they teach you how to drive a racecar, they tell you to focus on the road when you go around a turn. They tell you that because if you focus on the wall, then you will drive straight into the wall.”    – Ben Horowitz Ben Horowitz has a great point. There are a myriad of pitfalls…

The VC-backed Bullseye, and What Happens When You Miss 150 150 bsadmin

The VC-backed Bullseye, and What Happens When You Miss

Building a successful VC-backed company requires getting everything just right. Getting it right means hitting a bullseye where three factors intersect: Founder Competency, Market Reality, and Investor Approach. When you hit that intersection, you have a big exit and sail away to your private island. When you miss, you either hire or negotiate, depending on…

Yes, You Can Make Your Feature a Successful Business 150 150 bsadmin

Yes, You Can Make Your Feature a Successful Business

“Sounds like a feature, not a product.” Anyone who has been on the VC trail a few times has probably heard these words. It’s one of the most common reasons for VCs to pass on your business. It makes sense. Features don’t get to VC scale, and they can easily get knocked-off by large platforms.…

The Destruction of Perfectly Good Tech 150 150 bsadmin

The Destruction of Perfectly Good Tech

Startup failures send perfectly good tech to the scrap heap. That’s nothing new. What is new is that more and better tech is getting abandoned earlier. It’s an inefficiency created by our convergence around a common playbook. It starts with taking the path down a very narrow funnel The standard startup playbook goes something like…

2019 is the Year of Sustainable Entrepreneurship 150 150 bsadmin

2019 is the Year of Sustainable Entrepreneurship

I was looking through a list of around 40 companies that had gone through a certain startup accelerator’s program. Of the 40, I knew of two exits (one small, one large) and one viable continuing operation. 90% of the companies were either gone, or on life support. Using VC math, one might argue the one…

A Startup CEO’s Job is to Master the Narrative 150 150 bsadmin

A Startup CEO’s Job is to Master the Narrative

I grade myself a solid ‘B’ at sales. I can get the job done, but not nearly with the aplomb of many others I know. Still, one of the biggest mistakes I ever made as a CEO was hiring an ‘A’ seller too early. In doing so, I extracted myself from talking with prospects, at…

4 Startup Tenets that Won’t Survive a Downturn 150 150 bsadmin

4 Startup Tenets that Won’t Survive a Downturn

I spent the go-go days of the late 90’s in a rare Internet startup for the era. Due to groundwork laid before I arrived, we were profitable. We declined most of the VC we were offered, watched our overhead, and grew methodically. We were misfits of the so-called “new economy,” and we sold for 30x…

Before You Adopt the VC Playbook, Make Sure You’re Playing the Same Game 150 150 bsadmin

Before You Adopt the VC Playbook, Make Sure You’re Playing the Same Game

Venture capital can create opportunities that would be nearly impossible without it. But it also takes options off the table. It is important to consider whether objectives are aligned before assuming you need or want VC. There is a very important difference between VCs and entrepreneurs that is the root of potential misalignment. VCs are…

Get Out of the Basement Early, but Don’t Stray Too Far 150 150 bsadmin

Get Out of the Basement Early, but Don’t Stray Too Far

In business school I had a new venture class in the school’s basement. During a group project, while we were devising overwrought strategies based on theory and not much else, the professor said, “I think it’s time for you to get out of the basement.” Maybe he meant it literally, but I’ve used the expression…