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

The Ultimate Startup Knowledge Base

In “The New Virtual Accelerator”, we posited that all of venture can be broken down to knowledge, networks and capital. Today we focus on the first leg of the stool, knowledge. The problem is not that there is too little startup information publicly available–quite the contrary. The big problem regarding online resources are discoverability, quality control, maintenance, and to a lesser extent, access. This piece will not focus on those pieces of knowledge that you rent (e.g., legal services), … Read More

Every Imaginable Damn Startup Podcast Reviewed

As a long-distance commuter, I listen to a LOT of podcasts. And given the explosion in podcasts on tech startups, it’s hard to keep track of them all. There really isn’t a good discovery source, although Product Hunt and The Podcast Wire come closest.  So here’s the survey we’ve been missing. I have left out general business podcasts and most of the podcasts for small business (although I kept those few specializing on women entrepreneurs, whose focus is mostly on … Read More

How 19 Year Old Harry Stebbings Became a Venture Capital Star

This past week, Brad Feld, Fred Wilson, Roelof Botha and Marc Andreessen all separately praised the journalism of Harry Stebbings. Who is this guy?

While every Harvard MBA is trying to find a way into venture capital, how did an unknown Brit cut ahead in line and become a go-to-source and door-opener? To paraphrase the cartoonist Peter Steiner, it helps that on the internet, nobody knows you’re a 19 year old.

I was introduced to Harry Stebbings’ work Read More

The Investor Update Template

I always look forward to letters from my TechStars portfolio companies. They are short, informative, and to this eye, look like a combination of two strong Catholic traditions: 1) Confession (“Help me Father, for I have sinned”) and 2)the promise of greater glory to come. Here’s a sample. Copy at will, and all you portfolio companies, don’t forget to write! For more detail, check out the longer article Dharmesh Shah and I put up on OnStartups.

To:        Newco Investors Read More

How to Not Lose Your Shirt as an Angel Investor

I’ll be attending Angel Boot Camp II in Boston on June 14. It’s a terrific event run by Jon Pierce, with lots of opportunities for talking strategies, meeting lots of angels and VCs, and even seeing a few select companies. (Anyone interested, it’s free but you must register.) I’ll be at a breakout session with Sim Simeonov, former VC at Polaris, current angel and born-again entrepreneur with FastIgnite and Shopximity.  Last year Sim gave a great … Read More

Angel Heaven: Building the Ultimate Syndicate Vehicle

Continuing my recent onslaught on articles about angel syndicates. (Last one before I go back to hibernation.) Here is my dream wish list for the ultimate angel investing vehicle.

The Killer Angel Vehicle combines the best of institutional asset management with ease of shopping on Amazon. Let’s have an instrument that delivers filtering, scale, governance, diversification, benchmarking, standard documentation, access, and actionable low cost passive indices. Oh yeah, and make it easy. And easily transferable in a secondary market.

I … Read More

9 Point Checklist Before Investing in an Angel (or VC) Fund


In the last post, I discussed how commingled funds, whether they be managed by micro-VCs, leading angels, or traditional venture capital funds, can be an important component in an early stage investor’s overall strategy. This is especially for those who otherwise can’t assemble a diversified portfolio. In this post, I’m going to talk about 9 areas I think are most relevant to look at before investing in a startup fund. They are:

1)     The Manager’s Background /Reputation

2)     Prior … Read More