The New Virtual Accelerator

The early stage venture environment has changed enormously in the last 10 years. It has never been easier to start a venture and access seed capital; nor, arguably, has it been harder to separate ahead of the pack in the overcrowded startup world, which may have reached Peak MicroVC and Peak Accelerator. Seed only funds barely existed ten years ago, but now number around 300. Likewise with accelerators, which have gone from single digits to over 1000 in the last Read More

Sleep

James from Shearwater International

I am pretty sure that what most of the teams need on July 4th is to catch up on their Zzzzzs. Me too. Happy 4th, everyone.





Sal from SmackHigh Sal can sleep anywhere. It’s just that he so rarely does sleep…


Read More

Techstars Boston 2015–Day 1

And we’re off! With 12 of the 13 companies present (and one slowed at the border with a visa snafu,) introductions have been made, desks assigned, pitches critiqued, bathrooms pointed out, super-powers revealed, coffee drunk and stories shared.

The morning started off ironically, as we saw a combination never seen before–Semyon Dukach (head instigator of the TroubleMaker Award), in front of a Powerpoint, talking about rules. But the only rule that really matters is “Dare to … Read More

Answers (and Apologies) in Advance

Dharmesh Shah wrote a classic post where he explained why he couldn’t spare “just 15 minutes for a coffee.” Unfortunately, I too have reached that point, and I’m apologizing in advance.

As of right now, at Techstars we have over 800 applications in process for the summer class of Techstars Boston. And we are still actively recruiting the better companies—I just spent 2 days on the road last week doing just that. Based on history, we can expect that number … Read More

My 5 Step Program to Regain My Investing Chops

A few years ago, I pretty much dropped out of everything but running my startup, BuysideFX. That’s now over ;^(    and now I’m itching to get back to investing in early stage companies. But I’m rusty. Real rusty. When I was running BuysideFX, I felt a duty to my investors not to be wasting braincycles on any other startups, and so now I feel out of it: I’m outside of the latest thinking, out of the good deal flow, out … Read More

As always, Steve Blank and Friends Nail It

Readers know I’m not posting much nor doing a lot of (non-syndicated) angel investing now, but I read a great post on Steve Blank‘s blog yesterday inspired by John Selep. The post shows one investor’s framework for tieing in Steve’s management teachings to improve not only his odds of making successful investments, but those of every startup looking to raise money.

In one way it’s a great filter–is the entrepreneur sufficiently sophisticated? coachable? flexible? pragmatic?  But equally important … Read More

Entrepreneurs: What to Do if You Don’t Have an Idea

This post was originally published in OnStartups. I hope to be doing further guest posting on that site, which is one of my favorites. Thanks to Dharmesh Shah for his edits.

Don’t have an idea yet for a startup?

Then get off your butt and go work for someone else’s cool startup!  And the first place I would want to work would be a company that has momentum, powerful friends, and has been thoroughly vetted by pros.

How can … Read More

Angel Rewards–It’s the Little Things

Just got back from 2 days in Boston talking to MassChallenge companies and 1 day in NYC with TechStars. (Go Ordr.In! Go SideTour!)While I had a lot of meetings and was overscheduled, it was massively fun. But the highlight to me was when Cynthia Smith of Lynx Sportswear came up to me and started profusely thanking me. I recognized her, but didn’t know why she was signalling me out. I remember hearing her pitch, but sportswear–especially women’s … Read More

Why Every Angel Should Beg to Mentor at an Accelerator

The Original Mentor

Most angels who volunteer as mentors cite noble reasons to do so: “paying it forward”, “giving back”, educating the next generation of entrepreneurs, and so on.  I love people who help others purely for altruistic reasons, and I hope such motives stay foremost in mentors’ minds.  The more favors you do, the more come back your way. At AngelBootCamp on 6/14 in Boston, there’s a great session with Katie Rae (TechStars, Project 11) , David Skok (Matrix), … Read More

My Next 8 Months of Angel Investing: One Fund and a Half Dozen Startups

OK, the title of this post has ensured that I’ve gone and blown any shreds of suspense. But I’m writing this to get feedback from all of you, so feel free to pick apart my logic.

Angel investing itself is 100% bottom-up, i.e., picking the right companies. However, in order to figure out how much I have to spend, I need to think top-down, or macro.  I start by figuring out how much is a proper amount to go into … Read More