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.

Favorite Longreads of 2012

abovethecrowd.com

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.

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Startup Map & Trends Analysis – September 2012

Gust

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 Some of the entrepreneurs chose to keep their startup profiles private and therefore are labeled as unpublished in this month’s map, and were not included in the trends analysis.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.

2012 Valuation Survey of Angel Groups

Gust

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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Startup Map & Trends Analysis – November 2012

Gust

For November 2012 we are noticing an interesting trend of product ready companies declining, while concept stage companies are rising. This trend is mostly led by a decrease in product ready internet web service companies in the US, Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom, and with an increase in concept stage companies in Spain, India, Brazil and the United States. The top four US states with the highest concentration of new startups are still California, New York, Florida and Texas.

The Gust-DEMO Fall 2012 Scholarship

Gust

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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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

Special Attendee Rate for DEMO Fall 2012

Gust

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Why Docracy is the Most Revolutionary Company of Our Time

This is going to be BIG.

Tweet. Note: I led First Round's investment in Docracy in 2011, but I do not have any financial ties to the company and will not benefit or suffer, other than emotionally, based on the outcome of that investment. Docracy, born out of Techcrunch Disrupt's 2011 Hackathon, just brought legal negotiations into the cloud with their new Super Signing feature release.

Minimum Viable Team

This is going to be BIG.

You have a million things to get done at your startup, yet you only have a handful of people to do them. How are you ever going to get it done? Who should you hire? What should be the makeup of a founding team? What is the Minimum Viable Team, if you will, for a startup? To make life simpler, I'll take a page from George Carlin, who masterfully widdled down the Ten Commandments down to two simple rules. I can break down all the things a startup needs to do into three ideal people.

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.

A Seed Fund Grows in Brooklyn: Announcing Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

This is going to be BIG.

Tweet. I am ecstatic to announce the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures --my new seed investment fund. It is the first venture capital fund based in Brooklyn--the city’s most exciting and creative borough. It is home to cool startups like Etsy, Makerbot, Pontiflex, HowAboutWe, Energyhub, and Loosecubes. Gilt Groupe maintains a significant presence there, as does scores of creative agencies and design firms.

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.

Want to get in front of a VC? Be a little creative--human even.

This is going to be BIG.

Since I launched my fund , I've gotten around 50 offers to work with me. For some reason, everyone wants to be a VC. Instead of responding, I decided to sit on them. The way I figure it, how someone approaches me is indicative of how they'd approach an entrepreneur. Since the best entrepreneurs are busy running their business and get pinged by VCs all the time, you're not going to wind up getting a deal if all you do is e-mail once, give up, and walk away. So what happened?

How to Be a VC: Being Open

This is going to be BIG.

I always get asked how to get into VC and so I think a lot about what it takes to do the job well. I'm way early in my career, so I won't say I've perfected anything yet, but after 8 years on the investing side and 3 in startups, I've come up at least one thing: Be open. In venture capital, you say "no" a lot. When you say no a lot, you get good at it. It comes off the tongue fast and in lots of different ways. It is your default response.

Thinking About Berlin: Unleashing a Creative Opportunity

This is going to be BIG.

On Saturday morning, I stepped onto continental Europe for the first time in just over 20 years. I hadn't been here since I was 12, when I did a week long exchange program in Italy. I'll admit to not being particularly well travelled--I've never lived outside the five boroughs. I don't know any other languages. It's not that I don't like new places--I've just spent a lot of time diving pretty deep into my own city and going all in on a career based off of being rooted in NYC.

Instead of sticking a fork in the venture market, realize. there is no fork

This is going to be BIG.

The other day, I noticed an eye-catching headline: "Internet Funding Boom Ends as Fast as It Began". It was from the Wall Street Journal--a publication I count on for emphasizing quality journalism over empty linkbaity headlines above hollow stories. Perhaps I need to rethink that. How else can you explain this headline matching a story about a professional social network still trying to explore revenues raising $17mm on an $80mm valuation?

The Valuable Unsung Heroes of Startups

Both Sides of the Table

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.

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

Both Sides of the Table

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

Both Sides of the Table

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.

Why Technology is Driving More Urban Renewal

Both Sides of the Table

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.

Massaging the Octopus: Jiro Dreams of Startups

This is going to be BIG.

The other day I want to go see Jiro Dreams of Sushi --a documentary about an 86 year old sushi chef working out of a 10 seat restaurant in a Ginza subway station. Oh, did I mention that the restaurant is rated 3 stars by the Michelin folks? This guy is like a throwback to another era. He doesn't feel as if he's gotten to the pinnacle of his craft yet. Forget Gladwell's 10,000 hours. This is a guy that has been making sushi for 75 years and he doesn't feel like he's quite gotten there yet.

Admitting that you have no idea what you're doing

This is going to be BIG.

Most entrepreneurs aren't qualified for their jobs--including about 100% of the first timers. Many times, they get backed just because they're smart people working in an interesting area. Sure, they had a demo or a prototype or something, but investors know the product will change. What they're really betting on is your ability to learn--and that starts with your willingness to admit the following: "I don't know what to do.".

Year in review: Best of 2012

Tomasz Tunguz

Thank you all for making 2012 a memorable year. Top 10 Blog Posts of 2012. About three years ago, I started journaling my startup education by blogging. In retrospect, blogging has been one of the most rewarding activities for me as an investor. Blogging helps me some observe changes in the start-up ecosystem, communicate trends primarily through data while strengthening and building relationships. It’s been more gratifying than I could have hoped.

The Unified Theory of Food Investing for Tech VCs

This is going to be BIG.

One of the aspects of running a venture fund that I am most excited about is turning over rocks that other VCs might not. I'm less likely to get excited about the next big photo sharing app coming out of YC, and more into going "where no VC has gone before.". Whatever I do, it needs to be in big enough spaces. What are the biggest opportunities? To be really basic about it, everyone on the planet eats, sleeps, and poops--so you could start there.

In Which We Pay Attention to Something Else

This is going to be BIG.

I'm watching CNBC right now and they're featuring two top stories: Facebook's 30% drop since the IPO and SpaceX completing the first commercial space supply mission. Could it be that the future of innovation lies in driving mankind forward and not getting people to click more ads? Does the Facebook IPO mark the end of our eight year infatuation with social networking that began with Flickr and del.icio.us?

Technology Trends: 10 Areas of Innovation to Watch for 2012

This is going to be BIG.

What types of things might happen in 2012, as opposed to needing another 3-5 years to come to fruition. That aside, here are ten areas I think you'll see some interesting things happening in 2012. Tweet. One of the best things any investor can do is to pull back from the day to day of getting pitches and think about high level trends. What areas are going to change? What areas need to be disrupted?