How to Charm a VC Into Mentoring You

VCs are good for more than just their money. If you play your cards right, you can take advantage of their vast business knowledge and impressive contact list on their BlackBerry phones. These steps will help you go from outsider to VIP.

Praise the Super Angels for Taking Risks Few Others Will

As the debate rages on about the role of “super angels” in the success or failure of startups, Scott Sandell of venture capital firm NEA suggests that, as funding sources shrink and venture capital firms disappear, we should celebrate these investors instead of vilifying them.

Today in Cleantech

How do startups access new sources of capital? Where do investors turn when the exits aren’t as clearly marked? Those are some of the complex issues Jennifer Kho explores in our latest research report, “Cleantech Financing Trends: 2010 and Beyond” (sub req’d). Needless to say, the financing game has changed and smart firms are those that play by the new rules. Read Jennifer’s report for some great insights.

2010 Will See Some Venture Firms Fold

More venture firms will try to raise funds in 2010 after a dismal 2009, but some won’t be able to, and will have to begin the long process of shutting down. Entrepreneurs seeking funds should know when a prospective investor has to raise more money.

NewTeeVee Live: Panel of VCs Sees Bright Prospects for Video Industry

As evening began at the NewTeeVee conference in San Francisco today, some big money movers weighed in on the video industry. Allen Delattre, managing director of Electronics and High Technology at Accenture (s acn), moderated a panel discussion featuring a number of heavy-hitters from the venture capital community. They included:

  • Bill Gurley, general partner, Benchmark Capital
  • Chris Hollenbeck, managing director,Granite Ventures
  • David Horowitz, managing director, Comcast Interactive Capital
  • Dan Beldy, managing director, Steamboat Ventures

The last event of the day was one of the most interesting, and the VCs were mostly positive about the prospects for online video.
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Monday Vid Picks: Shiba Inu Puppies Funtimes

They regularly trend as a hot topic on Twitter. The cast and crew of The Guild watch them on set. And they spend most of their time sleeping in a giant, snuggly pile, but that hasn’t kept them from becoming the hottest new stars in the livecasting world — darn right I’m talking about the Shiba Inu puppy cam.
Free live streaming by Ustream
Hosted by Ustream and viewed by over 4 million people, the six adorable puppies in this litter are now six weeks old, and they are getting awfully big. Which is a little terrifying for those in the Web 2.0 community — as their owner said on the live feed just as I was writing this, “they won’t stay puppies forever.” Fans of individual pups will be able to watch them at their new homes, courtesy of Ustream. But in the meantime, here are a few of their greatest moments… Read More about Monday Vid Picks: Shiba Inu Puppies Funtimes

The F|R Interview: Chris Michel on the Good in Giving Your Equity Away

We’ve written recently about how to preserve your equity when fundraising. This week we spoke with serial entrepreneur Chris Michel, who explained why founders should not be afraid to give additional equity disbursements — out of their personal stakes! — to reward senior staffers.

That’s what Michel did just six months before selling his latest startup, Affinity Labs, to for $61 million in January. Michel gave up a tidy bit of his own windfall, but he has no regrets, and thinks more founders should follow suit.

F|R: You gave half a percent of your personal stake in Affinity Labs to three senior managers shortly before selling the company. Why?

Chris Michel: One key to success is having a very small and overqualified team. We all know this, but forget that the best people could also go and be CEOs at their own companies. In a “war for talent” you have ask yourself: What wouldn’t you do to bring the right people onto your team and keep them in the game? Rarely is compensation enough to make anyone happy. First, people want to be at a place that they’re proud of, surrounded by people who are as talented or more talented than they are, working on problems that matter. Second, they want to be [remuneratively] valued. Compensation is a necessary, though not sufficient, tool. But you can’t screw up the comp stuff because it’s the easiest thing to do right. Read More about The F|R Interview: Chris Michel on the Good in Giving Your Equity Away

How to Build Good Credit for Your Business

Today we offer the latest edition in Larry Chiang’s long-running series on “Things They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School,” which he is turning into a book. (A list of Larry’s earlier posts is below.) This month’s installment is about how to build good credit for your business in a recession.

April is financial literacy month and it’s meant for kids — but we entrepreneurs can learn something too. Surprise! None of these tips are taught in business school. Credit isn’t a class taught inside such Ivory Towers. (I think maybe because we’re supposed to be too good to worry about our FICO scores?) But then, again, credit rules are archaic, so its understandable that Stanford GSB doesn’t school its kin in such minutiae. But I plan to, because especially right now — as we teeter into a recession — a lot of founders are going to learn just how powerful good credit can be.

My 9 Tips for How to Build Credit for Your Business…

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Thoughts of the Day: from Oracle’s Ellison

larryhotdog.jpgI had separate lunches this week with two serial founders, both of whom happened to cut their teeth working at the foot of that tyrannical, yet irrepressibly successful, nearly-but-never-richest-man-in-the-world software mogul whom everyone loves to hate only slightly less respectfully than Bill Gates: Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

Say what you will about the man, they say, he’s a stellar teacher. So we’ve got Two Lessons from “The Big L” for you:

I. On startups & funding. Ellison funds startups aggressively (NIC which became Liberate Technology,, NetSuite, etc.) and he has a rule about capital management.

“You eat what you kill….what do you mean you want a salary?”

My lunch date explains how this helped him: “The minute you raise VC money, you treat it like it’s yours, like you’ve earned it. [Like you’ve killed it!] Too many entrepreneurs raise money and then spend it like it’s someone else’s to lose, like they can just go out and raise more when they need to. The minute you forget the discipline of treating VC money like it’s your own, that’s when you start making mistakes.

Rule #1: Eat what you kill. Or at least, act like it you killed it.

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What I learned at SXSW

Editor’s Note: One of contributors, serial founder Aruni Gunasegaram attended SXSW Interactive for the first time this year, and she learned a lot. Aruni compiled a digest of takeaways, on funding, strategy, and using social media, on her blog entrepreMusings. She shares them with us here.

Interactive – Monday, March 10, 2008: The Care and Feeding of Your Startup

This panel was made up of some local entrepreneurs from Unwired Nation as well as a venture capitalist from Texas based DFJ Mercury and a couple of others. Some key insights:

* Someone needs to serve as the “Belief Engine” for your startup which I took to mean the “evangelist” but I thought that was a unique way of saying it.

* Make sure your product fits into your users way of life and they don’t have to drastically change what they are doing Read More about What I learned at SXSW