So, as some of you know, I’ve taken a long time off from blogging because I’m doing another startup, called FX Aligned. The company is very close in many ways to my old company, eSecLending: many of the same founding employees, the same prospects, same competitors, same game plan, hell, even the same lawyers. Which makes the pain of starting from scratch a whole lot easier and more comfortable.
A key lesson learned at my first company is that you can’t overvalue an engaged advisory board. One of my few distractions in the next month will be speaking to be at an event hosted by Silicon Valley Bank (our bank at FX Aligned, and the one which I recommend to any startup.) My story will be about the importance of assembling a killer board, and how eSecLending’s advisory board literally saved the bacon of that company at a critical junction just before we landed our first client.
This time around, I have spent a good amount of time thinking about the board–even before looking for clients, investors, strategic partners. I’m really proud of the Advisors I’ve assembled. Half of them I knew before I started, but the others were via intros and recommendations from respected people in FX. All advisors have been generous with their time, one even was so kind as to attend a pitch to a VC with me, share his views on the market, and then afterwards give me his honest feedback, hints and reactions. Really, you can’t ask for much more than that!
So until now (when I feel like procrastinating a little), I’ve just been too focussed on the new company to take time off to write. When I worked as a full-time angel there was time to spare, but now it’s back to the 70 hour work weeks, and I couldn’t be more excited. I don’t want to spend the time crafting good blog posts when I could be working on our product offering or client pitch. So if you’ll forgive me, I’m not even going to edit this, but rather just slap it up and not even revisit it.
Going forward, rather than thinking and writing about angel matters, I’m going to write primarily about being on this side (the more humbling one) of startup life. It appears most of my readers are young entrepreneurs anyway, so perhaps you’ll like it.
What’s up now? I’m close to picking which VCs we’ll be using, and I’m surprised by how my thinking has changed on that as I’ve gone through the process. Without mentioning names (other than the ones we like), next post I’ll discuss how some of them managed to win their way into our hearts. I can tell you right now that we’ll be using 2 VCs (I subscribe to Mark Suster’s Martini Theory of VCs.) Why VCs and not angels in our case (this coming from an angel investor) is a long story in and of itself; I’ll also probably write about that, although the VC-only route is not one I generally recommend, especially for new entrepreneurs.
Other decisions come straight from recommendations I’ve made to other startups: we’re going to be working in an inexpensive co-working space in an incubator (Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies); we are going cheap, using SaaS services where possible, but not skimping at all on client-facing materials (we love our business cards, via Moo.com, and the quick turnaround job done for our logo on 99designs.com), we’re going to use standard, boiler-plate legal docs to keep expenses down (see Foundry Group’s new book and Ask A VC’s section on Term Sheets). We figured out who we wanted intros to, and via one of our lawyers, Dave Cappillo at Goodwin Procter, and our banker, Dan Allred at SVB, we were able to connect to virtually everyone we wanted. Having a great lawyer and banker is a great start.
Anyway, I’ve procrastinated long enough–I’ve got to get back to what I really want to do, researching a potential client we have a meeting with. My apologies for having been missing in action, but I’ve had the best excuse. I look forward to my Klout score dropping 10 points a month, because it means I’m cranking out the work instead of hanging out on Twitter.
Now back to creating some REAL value…I suggest all of you startup entrepreneurs to get off the damn internet and get back to work as well. Go get ’em.