Category

Venture Capital

VC Fund Returns Are More Skewed Than You Think

Some of the most popular posts I’ve written over the past couple of years were the two that focused on just how rare outsized returns for an individual deal are in venture capital. You can see the original posts here and here. In those posts I was analyzing data from Correlation Ventures that showed just how skewed venture returns are, specifically that 65% of investment rounds fail to return 1x capital and only 4% return greater than 10x capital. Ian Hathaway, who recently co-authored the second edition of Startup Communities with my partner, Brad, sent me the chart below which highlights how that translates to returns in venture capital as an asset class. I’ve seen versions of this chart before…

Options about your Options – How to think through your company’s option program

Quick break from Covid related topics for a moment to post something I’ve been intending to write about for a few months but haven’t had the chance to commit to paper. It’s perhaps a boring topic – Options and your company’s option program – but an important one. Despite how much time companies talk about the importance of their employees and, in many cases, how every employee is also an “owner” of their business through their option program, most companies are pretty ad hoc (or down right sloppy) about how they plan for and execute their option program. My hope with this post is to push your thinking around options and encourage you to formalize what you’re doing into an…

How To Get a Job In Venture Capital

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “how do I get a job in venture?” In fact, I’ve written two posts over the years on this topic – one way back in 2005 and a follow-up to that a few years later in 2008 (the 2nd of the post is the more practical advice if you’re pressed for time; or just keep reading below). A lot has changed in the past 10 years since I wrote my most recent post on this subject. And a lot hasn’t. Below is an updated overview of the venture job landscape as well as some current thoughts on how to break into the industry. First some stats to outline the landscape….

You May Have Too Many VCs On Your Board

Those that have followed my blog for any period of time know that I love the data that my friends at Correlation Ventures gather and write about (for example the data behind my post Venture Outcomes are Even More Skewed Than You Think or IPO or M&A). Today they released some data on the correlation between the number of venture board members around the boardroom table and the success of venture funded businesses which I thought was pretty illuminating and which confirmed a long held suspicion of mine. I haven’t counted exactly but I’ve been on dozens and dozens of venture funded boards in the almost 20 years I’ve been a venture investor. Some have been fantastic. Some have been dysfunctional. Most…

The Changing Venture Market In 3 Images

Want to visualize how the venture funding market is changing? Look no further than these 3 slides (from a presentation put together by our friends at Greenspring). I don’t think much commentary is needed here. Average round size at Series A is increasing dramatically. Venture is being increasingly driven by large rounds (especially at the later stages – this is significantly skewing the overall funding numbers that are being reported). IPOs are the new Unicorns (they’re becoming more scarce than their $1BN valued cousins)

Forget about the rest. What makes a good VC?

I should preface this post with the caveat that a VC describing what it takes to be a good VC runs the obvious risk of falling into a trap of vanity and lack of self-awareness. I hope I haven’t, but you be the judge… There’s been a real uproar over Andy Dunn’s recent missive slamming venture capitalists. In it Dunn asserts (I’m paraphrasing here and I’d encourage you to go read the full post) that 98% of VCs suck. And his last line pretty much sums up his feelings: “98% of VCs who read this post self-identify as being in the top 2%. The other 2% are actually the top 2%.” There have been some good rebuttals of his overall…

That new era of Venture Capital is here

A couple of years ago I posted about what I thought would be the “new era of Venture Capital.” Specifically I was predicting that we’d see a strong barbell effect in VC fundraising. From that post: I believe what we’re going to see in the venture industry is a bifurcation of fundraising– basically a barbell on the graph of fund sizes. Large, well known, multi-sector and multi-stage “mega-funds” will be able to raise $750MM or greater at one end of the scale, and smaller, more focused funds will raise $250MM or less on the other end – with a relatively small number of funds in the middle. [note: not sure what the problem is with the graphic from the original…

California, Massachusetts, New York, Colorado

California, Massachusetts, New York, Colorado. That’s the order of states with the greatest dollar value of seed and early stage investment according to a PWC MoneyTree study that my partner Jason blogged about today. $290M invested in 41 companies based in Colorado in 2011. Compare that with 2006 when Colorado ranked 12th on the list with just under $90M invested in 32 companies. That’s an incredible achievement and says a lot about the state of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Colorado and our rising profile on the national stage. I’ve written extensively on why Boulder specifically, and Colorado in general, are great start-up markets (see here, for example). And these data show that the work and effort of many people in…

I’m getting sick of the bullshit

I love the start-up world. I love working with founders and young companies. I love the excitement of working on business ideas that are new and different. I love seeing the success that often comes from this hard work. I’ve never before in my professional life seen a time of such innovation and creativity. At Foundry we see more business plans now than we ever have. And what’s more, more of those business plans are really interesting (and fundable). It goes without saying that I love the business of venture capital. I love helping entrepreneurs work on their ideas. And I love helping companies figure out how to become as successful as possible. I love the challenge of trying to…

Is there age bias in VC investing?

I recently waked into a pitch meeting for a social networking related business and was surprised by what I saw. I had interacted with the entrepreneur over email – taking a look at the initial business plan and setting up the meeting – but we hadn’t met in person before. In front of me were three guys in suits, each in their late 40’s or early 50’s, with an older Dell laptop and a paper print-out of some product ideas. And as I sat there listening to their pitch I couldn’t help but think about how differently I might have reacted if this team was in their 20’s or 30’s, dressed in full tech/nerd hipster outfits (or at least jeans…