Spend 2012 on the Right Side of the Haimish Line

Both Sides of the Table

The first day of 2012 seems the perfect day to do so. So in 2012 you’ll see me a lot more often at the Launchpad LA offices. Happy 2012 to all of you. Occasionally on this blog I break away from industry commentary and write more broadly. One of the most important articles I read during the entire year was David Brook’s op-ed article on “ The Haimish Line.” ” In it Brooks talks about his recent trip to Africa with his 12-year-old son.

Entrepreneur’s Don’t Think Enough. Here’s What You Can Do About It …

Both Sides of the Table

Every so often I find myself caught up in a really hectic 3-4 week schedule where it seems like I float endlessly betweens meetings. Pitches. Intros. Board Meetings. Conferences. And I get flooded with legal docs, end-of-quarter financial administration, recruiting, whatever. I get sucked up in “Do” mode. Startups Are for Doers. Now, I’m pretty on the record that being an entrepreneur is about being great at The Do. With an emphasis on the “D” in JFDI.


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Startup Map & Trends Analysis – September 2012


September’s Startup Map showcases the latest trends in startup profiles created on Gust between September 1 st and September 30 th. Some of the entrepreneurs chose to keep their startup profiles private and therefore are labeled as unpublished in this month’s map, and were not included in the trends analysis. In September the US has once again shown the highest concentration of startups, even though there was a decline when compared to the month of August.

It’s Morning in Venture Capital

Both Sides of the Table

But in 2012 a visit to any major college in America will show you the massive increase in aspirations of our young talent to become the next Mark Zuckerberg and build a future Facebook. So it is unsurprising that an over-funding environment and the commensurate returns hangover would have lasted until about – well – 2012. Fast forward to 2012 and none of these conditions hold. As of January 2012 consumers were watching 4 BILLION video views per day on YouTube.

2012 Valuation Survey of Angel Groups


The results of the 2012 survey are shown in the table below, with groups listed by median overall pre-revenue, pre-money valuation from the lowest to the highest. 2012 Valuation Survey. Here are comparisons with earlier surveys and with current data collected elsewhere : The pre-money valuation of pre-revenue companies in the 2012 survey (median = 2.75, average = 2.96) increased significantly over the data from the survey in 2011 (average = $2.1

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The Gust-DEMO Fall 2012 Scholarship


Following the huge success of the Gust-DEMO scholarship earlier this year, Gust and DEMO have teamed up again to offer Gust start-ups a full scholarship opportunity for DEMO Fall 2012. The deadline to apply for the full scholarship is August 17, 2012. DEMO Fall 2012 takes place October 1-3, 2012 in Santa Clara, CA.

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Is Going for Rapid Growth Always Good? Aren’t Startups So Much More?

Both Sides of the Table

I think I’ve read Paul Graham’s post on “ Startup = Growth ” three or four times now. And of course on Twitter I’ve seen the Tweets, ReTweets and superlatives on what a great post it is. Viewing the article through the lens of a venture capitalist there’s much to agree with under the mantra of “growth!” ” And when you read the article carefully it allows for a period of discovery in your business. For example.

What Makes a Successful Startup Community? Is it Possible to Build One Where You Live?

Both Sides of the Table

This article originally appeared on TechCrunch. Recently I wrote a post arguing to make the definition of a Startup more inclusive than that to which Silicon Valley, fueled by Venture Capital return profiles, would sometimes like to attach to the word. Today I’d like to talk about what startup communities outside of Silicon Valley look like, how they emerge and what makes them take hold.

Why “The Culture of Failure” is Imperative to Startup Communities

Both Sides of the Table

I recently wrote about the 12 tips to building successful startup communities. After a recent discussion I had with Steve Blank it made me remember that I had left off one of the most critical factors – a culture of failure. I remember this lesson well. I lived in London from 1997-2005 and for 6 of those years ran my startup based out of London. At this time I can tell you that the Brits definitely didn’t have a culture of failure.

Some Thoughts on Branding Startups and Communities

Both Sides of the Table

For me Silicon Beach doesn’t quite encapsulate the wonderful, dynamic, creative, large, thriving community that is the 13 million proud Angelinos any more than Silicon Alley captures the bustling 2012 community of New York City. Brad Feld visited Los Angeles this past week. I always enjoy spending time with Brad as the antidote to the eco chamber.

To Be Successful You’ll Need to Shake Hands and Kiss Babies.

Both Sides of the Table

It’s Wednesday late afternoon. I’m aboard Delta flight 1833 from Cincinnati (actually, Northern Kentucky for what it’s worth) to Los Angeles. I had a very enjoyable day in Cincinnati meeting many local entrepreneurs, angels and accelerators. I was here to see one of our LPs (limited partners are the people who invest money in VC funds) called Fort Washington.

How VCs, Accelerators, and Coworking Spaces Put Communities in Buildings vs. Buildings in Communities

This is going to be BIG.

I'll bet you don't know where the Center of NY's Tech Community and Center of Creativity is. Give up? It's in the Financial District--right at 55 Broad Street. It says so right on their website. In fact, it is "well-known internationally as the original home of New York's technology community.". I'll bet you didn't know that--mostly because it never was. Back in the late 90's, a lot of money and real estate brokering went into trying to make it so, however.

Why Silicon Valley and Hollywood Don’t Get Each Other and Who Will Win the Future

Both Sides of the Table

For the past three years I have been pounding the table as loud as I can about the future opportunities in digital video. The concise guide is here. My narrative has stayed pretty simple: People in the US watch 5.3 hours of TV per day. People read for less than 30 minutes. You will not fundamentally change consumers media consumption habits. So you tell me what the future of the Internet will be? Ah, but the CPMs on YouTube are so low! And investing in content companies won’t return money!

Why Startup Entrepreneurs Need to Communicate More Like George Bush Than Al Gore

Both Sides of the Table

This article originally appeared on TechCrunch. It is election season. So it’s tempting to think this is going to be a partisan post – it is not. I use George Bush vs. Al Gore as allegory and I’ve been using it with entrepreneurs for years to sink in a simple point about how to communicate with the market. I use it because I believe in the power of visual and memorable stories to sink into the consciousness.

The Valuable Unsung Heroes of Startups

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And a heartfelt thank you to my VC friends, lawyers and portfolio executives who have spent their personal time counseling me in 2012. I got a call Sunday from a business colleague while I was sitting in the lounge at LAX waiting for yet another delayed flight. This colleague is a lawyer with whom I work on a deal and have done so for a couple of years. By all accounts I now consider him a friend.

Special Attendee Rate for DEMO Fall 2012


We are delighted to present a special rate to attend DEMO in Santa Clara, California on October 1-3, 2012. Please apply the registration code ‘DF12ANL’ to receive 50% off the published rate. During the two-day conference, DEMO provides an environment for companies to secure venture funding, establish critical relationships, influence early adopters, and meet with top tier press.

How This Entrepreneur Raised $28,000 Using Airbnb to Fund Her Startup

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Sam is the managing director of Launchpad LA and we were about to pick our 2012 class of entrepreneurs. Tracy DiNunzio isn’t your typical Silicon Valley startup founder. She’s a painter and a self-proclaimed Bohemian. She did her first tech startup after the age of 30. And she didn’t start her company in Northern California. Tracy built her company, Recycled Media , out of necessity. She hasn’t raised any venture capital.

Rustic Canyon Speaks out on GaiKai Exit, Changing Nature of VC, LA Tech & More

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Nate Redmond is the managing partner of Rustic Canyon Partners – he’s probably one of the youngest managing partners of a major fund you’ll meet. And no wonder, lately he and his partners are on a tear, investing out of their $200+ million VC fund. They recently exited their investment in Gaikai for $380 million while their rival OnLive (who had raised > $200 million) just went through bankruptcy. Not bad, hey? And they had another recent $100+ million exit of Savings.com.

Would the Last Blackberry User Please Turn Out the Lights? I Already Left the Building

Both Sides of the Table

My Blackberry died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know. It seems so long ago that we had to start hiding our Blackberry’s in our pockets to avoid always being chastised. If you were caught sending out an email on your Blackberry you had to quickly whip out your iPhone to show that – wait! – I have one of these, too. It is stunning to think about the blind spots that market leaders can develop.

Favorite Longreads of 2012


Jeff Bezos on Charlie Rose, November 16, 2012. Over the past several years, I have become a huge fan of Mark Armstrong’s web service, Longreads. For those of you that don’t know, Longreads is a Twitter handle ( @longreads ), and a web service ( www.longreads.com ) that points to the best long form content on the Internet. At its core, it’s an amazingly effective editorial and discovery engine.

Why Technology is Driving More Urban Renewal

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Like many I read the headlines about Pinterest moving from Palo Alto to San Francisco and thought about the trend it portends. For those not familiar with the local geography, Palo Alto is the north end of what most consider “Silicon Valley” although nobody local calls it that. Palo Also is about 35 miles south of San Francisco. Palo Alto is home to Stanford. It is the birthplace of Hewlett Packard. And Facebook. It is adjacent to Mountain View, home to Google.

My Pal Dave: A Triumph of Substance Over Style

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My pal Dave has blogger Tourette’s. He has it on stage, too, at conferences. He can’t help himself: He’s Dave. My pal Dave has problems. Not the ones you’d imagine. His biggest problems are with language, colors, fonts and spacing. Not much more. I think he could say “no” a bit more. I’ve told him that if a vet just clipped his wings a little bit I think it would be good for his health. He is tireless and works his arse off.

The Collaborative Web: Github is the New Flickr

This is going to be BIG.

I can't take credit for this meme, even though I've already invested in it.twice. Once with Docracy, once with a super cool company launching in the first quarter of 2013.). I was chatting with Thor Muller a couple of weeks ago about web trends--and he made a very insightful point as I talked about how I see more and more models around getting people to work together in different ways. He said that Flickr taught us all about social applications--and gave birth to Web 2.0

The Scarcest Resource at Startups is Management Bandwidth

Both Sides of the Table

When you work inside a startup with lots of clever and motivated staff you’re never short of good ideas that you can implement. It’s tempting to take on new projects, new features, new geographies, new speaking opportunities, whatever. Each one incrementally sounds like a good idea, yet collectively they end up punishing undisciplined teams. I like to counsel that the best teams are often defined by what they choose not to do. Let me explain.

Is Silicon Valley Really Coming to an End?

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By now you probably know that David Sacks , co-founder of PayPal and founder of both Geni & Yammer made some observations on Facebook that Silicon Valley “as we know it” was coming to an end. He says. “In order to create a successful new company, you have to find an idea that. (1)

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The Truth About Convertible Debt at Startups and The Hidden Terms You Didn’t Understand

Both Sides of the Table

So Investor A might have bought 20% of your company in 2012 and in 2013 with no addition money invested suddenly owns 40% of your company. This article initially appeared on TechCrunch - with a minor update highlighted in red below. We’re back to discussing convertible debt again. This time by the efforts of Adeo Ressi to introduce a new kind of structure called “ convertible equity.”

The Power of Torso TV (Why Media is Racing to the Middle)

Both Sides of the Table

This article originally ran on TechCrunch. Chris Anderson wrote a really influential book some years ago called “ The Long Tail ” that shaped how many people think about emerging Internet markets. If you haven’t read it you should consider adding it to you library. It was especially influential in my mind in thinking about media.

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The Future of Brick and Mortar

This is going to be BIG.

As we prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I think a lot about the future of the physical retail landscape. As I walk around my neighborhood in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, I count every storefront whose products or services could be better delivered over the internet. The count is unfortunately high. Pretty much anywhere you buy items that aren't food, you could probably get them cheaper on the web, with a wider selection. Left and right, small retailers are closing their doors.

Anatomy of an Innovation-friendly School

This is going to be BIG.

University research is a big business for many schools. It certainly worked out pretty well when Stanford licensed the search technology that Larry and Sergei had been working on back to them at Google. They netted more on that deal than Fordham has in it's whole endowment (but still, go Rams!). On top of that, most of a school's major donors are likely to be entrepreneurs in some way. You just don't wind up with $25 million to name a dorm unless you've gotten equity upside in something.

If it Didn’t Happen on Twitter it Didn’t Really Happen. Here’s Why

Both Sides of the Table

I wrote this post a long time ago. When I did it was a little too close to home for a company to have me publish it. Much time has passed. And I felt it was instructive still so I thought I would publish. I decided to water down some details to protect the innocent. But both stories are still accurate. I hope it still resonates. A while back I received a frantic phone call from the CEO of a company in which I invested.

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Trello versus Asana

Both Sides of the Table

For the past several years I’ve undertaken many initiatives to “get more organized,” which basically means to make another attempt at implementing and running a solid task list that I can share with others with whom I collaborate. I seem to be really good at kicking off well-structured lists, but less good at “working them.” ” I know there’s no real point in creating a task list if you’re not actually going to open it up and parse through tasks.

How to Develop Your Fund Raising Strategy

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Raising money is hard. And when you’re relatively new to the process it’s easy to be confused by the process. There is all sorts of advice on the Internet about how to raise capital. Of course much of it is conflicting. I’ve raised money as a “hot company” and I’ve raised capital when no one would return my phone calls. I’ve raised in boom markets and when everybody thought the Internet was a fraud. I’ve raised seed rounds and A-D rounds.

Some Quick Thoughts on Exits for Technology Startups

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Later today I’m presenting at the annual Rincon Ventures Summit in Santa Barbara. Startup Exits: A Primer from msuster. I thought you might like to see an advance copy of what I’m going to cover. I speak privately a lot about getting an exit at a startup. I haven’t spoken publicly about it much but since Rincon asked – I agreed.

Why John Frankel Leaned in Early on Klout and Cornerstone OnDemand and What He Sees Next

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Other people were convinced including Kleiner Perkins who lead their $30 million fund raising in 2012 (they had previously also invested in 2011). It all started in 2010 with Klout. I wasn’t a believer. I had always liked and respected CEO Joe Fernandez but could never get my head around the fact that the Klout was putting up charts showing who influenced me and it didn’t map to the reality I knew in my head.

Always Go Home with the Lady Who Brought you to the Dance

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I had this ethical dilemma pop up on one of the first deals I even did as a VC. I had been looking around at several deals in late 2008 as the markets were tanking. I had gotten close on a couple of deals but nothing rose to the level of “must do.” ” I was learning which VCs I wanted to work with, what stage & check size I wanted to commit do and what teams would be a good fit for me.

The Most Obvious Mobile Ad Unit and What the New York Times Got Wrong

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RingRevenue grew it’s revenue 3x 2010 over 2011 and is on track to grow more than 3x again in 2012 with no signs of slowing. Here are some data provided by a BIA / Kelsey report (2012). The New York Times recently ran an article titled, “ Tech Companies Leave Phone Calls Behind.” ” I love the NY Times and am a paying subscriber. But this article missed the real trend.

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Some Advice for Celebrities and Startups Seeking Their Endorsements

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I live in LA. And I’m a VC. So you can imagine I see my fair share of celebrities looking to get into the technology industry. And equal numbers of startups seeking celebrity endorsements in exchange for equity. For the most part my advice is simple, “don’t bother.” ” But as ever I’ve had to have this debate in numerous company pitches and board meetings. So I guess it requires some explanation. For Startups Wanting to Work with Celebrities.

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