Why Has LA Suddenly Gotten So Much Attention from VCs and Entrepreneurs?

Both Sides of the Table

” in 2014 the data seems pretty conclusive because LA has now become the fastest growing tech startup region by numbers of companies being started and those of us here have noticed this pace accelerating. billion in venture capital to LA’s technology startups and 2014 will shatter that figure. If you throw in Oculus into the mix along with TrueCar, Rubicon, Burstly, Beats and others LA Tech has seen more than $8 billion in exits in 2014 alone.

How to Kick Start Your Community’s Startup Scene

Both Sides of the Table

I just returned from 3 days in Cincinnati including attending the annual meeting of one of Upfront’s LPs – Cintrifuse. I have never been more optimistic about the impact that the tech startup community is having on cities in America or about the role that cities outside of San Francisco / Silicon Valley can play in our future.


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The Case for Optimism and Risk at Startups

Both Sides of the Table

Mark Suster (@msuster) November 1, 2014. Last week a company we enthusiastically backed, uBeam , led by a very special entrepreneur, 25-year-old Meredith Perry , announced a $10 million round of financing. The press around the raise & company was fantastic and the promise of their technology – wireless charging that works as easily as WiFi – would positively affect many of our lives.

What Future for Accelerators?

Both Sides of the Table

But by 2014 much had started to change. Accelerators have had quite a good run the past 5+ years. Not just Y Combinator and TechStars but a host of other accelerators across the country. I have been involved with a high profile one in Los Angeles – Launchpad LA – and we’ve decided to make a shift so I thought this was a good time for reflection. My good friend Adam Lilling and I started Launchpad more than 5 years ago . We had a specific goal in mind.

Creating Better VCs: An Accelerator for the Dark Side

This is going to be BIG.

These days, there are a ton of options for you if you''re a startup seeking guidence. Every single topic about running a company has been written about ad nauseum, there are incubators, accelorators, mentoring programs, events, talks, etc. We''ve done a lot to make sure startups get all the help we can get--and it''s leading to higher companies getting off the ground. But what about investors? How are we supposed to get better?

The Business of Who Makes is Changing

This is going to be BIG.

The 1970''s was a boom for minicomputers. Minicomputers were "midrange" machines that were used in all sorts of industrial applications--manufacturing process control, telephone switching and to control laboratory equipment. " In the 1970s, they were the hardware that was used to launch the computer-aided design (CAD) industry ," according to Wikipedia. The first commercial applications of CAD were in large companies in the automotive and aerospace industries, as well as in electronics.

The Thin Skin of the Venture Capital Market

This is going to be BIG.

— Charlie O''Donnell (@ceonyc) November 1, 2014. The other day, I saw that one of my favorite products, Slack, just raised $120mm at a $1.12 Billion valuation. The company is doing about a million a month in recurring revs. Personally, I think it was kind of a bad idea--not necessarily because of the valuation, but because it seems like $120mm is way too much money for a software company at this stage, especially one that might even be cashflow positive right now.

My Role as a VC: What I am and what I am not.

This is going to be BIG.

There''s been some writing about how VCs and founders interact with each other and it inspired me to take a step back and reflect on what my role is supposed to be with regards to the investments I make and the founders I deal with. Here''s what I came up with. First, I have a fiduciary responsibility to my investors who entrusted me with money in the first place. If I don''t do right by them, then I have no money, no fund, no career, full stop.

US Crowdfunding in 2014


The post US Crowdfunding in 2014 appeared first on The Gust Blog. Crowdfunding is the practice of raising money for a project or venture from a large number of people utilizing an Internet website or platform. Funding from each individual can be quite small, $10 or less, although some projects have much higher minimums. Projects include films, musical recordings, new companies, products, inventions, personal causes and many others. Since the JOBS Read more >.

Setting Kids Up to Fail

This is going to be BIG.

The nature of work is changing--we all know that. You''re required to be a lot more entrepreneurial, which requires you to build your own networks in order to get customers and collaborators, since these functions won''t be under the roof of a big company anymore. You''ll need to be more mobile, nimble, and able to go where the work is. You''ll need to think globally.

Valuing My Own Time and Saying No

This is going to be BIG.

The other day, I got a note asking whether I''d be willing to meet some "Head of New Things" at a big telecom. That wasn''t their actual title, but it was something like that. You''ve met them before. They''re new to the gig, super excited about all its potential, and getting out there selling founders hope for that one big gamechanging deal. But I''ve seen this movie before, so here''s how I responded: "Hi!

Female Founders: What the numbers mean and what they don't

This is going to be BIG.

Last week, there was a Business Insider article measuring the percent of female founded companies that NYC seed funds invest in. Brooklyn Bridge Ventures came in first, with a whopping 61%. Lerer Ventures was second, with just under 20%. So, clearly, I''m making some kind of a portfolio-wide bet there, right? Well, it''s gotta mean something, right?

How VCs Think About Adding New Partners

Both Sides of the Table

Let me start with the news that I’m excited to share with you. After years of trying to persuade Kara Nortman to become a partner at Upfront Ventures I can officially announce now that she’s joined us effective immediately. I have known Kara for 7 years and knew almost immediately after meeting her that I wanted to work with her one day in some capacity. Thus began my marketing campaign.

In Defense of Uber: An Unbiased Opinion

Both Sides of the Table

The story on Uber has been written about ad nauseam, which is why I’ve been reluctant to weigh in. But enough people have asked my perspective so I decided to weigh in with my non-conformist view. I love Uber and I don’t believe there has yet been a real scandal. Grievances – yes. But scandal? I’m not so sure. For starters – I’m not an investor in Uber. I wish I were. I had a chance to be in the seed round and unfortunately didn’t do so.

The Audacious Plan to Make Electricity as Easy as WiFi

Both Sides of the Table

When I first met Meredith Perry she was 24. That was three months ago this week. Today I’m handing her the largest A-round check I’ve ever written as a VC as we lead her $10 million A-Round at uBeam. As I’ve written about recently, at Upfront Ventures we started talking a couple of years ago about wanting to fund stuff with more meaning.

Bad Notes on Venture Capital

Both Sides of the Table

This week. On the phone … Me: So, you raised venture capital? Him: Yeah. We raised a seed round. About $1 million. Me: At what price? Him: It wasn’t priced. We raised a convertible note. Me: With a cap? Him: Yes, $8 million. Me: Ah. I see. So you did raise with a price. It’s just a maximum price. You’ll find out the minimum when the next round is raised. Him: Huh? Last week.

The Changing Structure of the VC Industry

Both Sides of the Table

Limited Partners or LPs (the people who invest into VC funds) have taken notice as 2014 is by all accounts the busiest year for LPs since the Great Recession began. Venture capital valuations are up across every segment of the industry as can be expected by our 5-years of growth markets but they are up most pronounced in the late-stage financings where the median valuation has risen from $66 million in 2010 to $155 million in 2014 (a 24% CAGR).

PR for Startups: Avoiding crickets after the Ta-Da!

This is going to be BIG.

I''ve closed three investments in the first Brooklyn Bridge Ventures fund that haven''t quite been made public yet, bringing the total to 13 companies. These companies didn''t announce their financings right away, and for good reason. They''re building up their PR plans to make the financing announcements part of a larger story arc.

Why We’re Looking to Fund Stuff With More Meaning

Both Sides of the Table

Venture Capital is a tricky industry. If you’re funding the same stuff as everybody else and if you started your activities when the clues were obvious you’re much less likely to drive enormous returns. When Fred Wilson funded Twitter I guarantee you it wasn’t obvious that it was a billion dollar idea. Far from it.

The Very First Startup Founder You Need to Invest in is You

Both Sides of the Table

This week I wrote about obsessive and competitive founders and how this forms the basis of what I look for when I invest. I had been thinking a lot about this recently because I’m often asked the question of “what I look for in an entrepreneur when I want to invest?”

What Would Happen if you Built the Reverse of Amazon? It Might Look Something Like This …

Both Sides of the Table

Amazon. It’s the company that evokes fear into more startups and venture capitalists looking to fund eCommerce businesses than any other potential competitor. Every pitch I’ve ever seen has led to the, “Would Amazon eventually do this? And could we then compete?” ” type questions. But what if you could do the reverse of Amazon? Amazon was early in spotting a macro trend – that physical, local retail had a few key disadvantages.

Here’s Why a Booming Tech Market May Fool You into Thinking You’re Successful

Both Sides of the Table

Since 2009 we’ve been in an unequivocal bull market. Venture capitalists have raised increasing amounts of money from their investors (LPs) every year. An impressive number of new VCs have been created – most of them with new seed funds. We’ve had an explosion of alternate sources of financing from crowd-sourcing, angels, accelerators, incubators, corporates, corporate incubators. And importantly we’ve had revenue.

Seed Round Pricing (Actual data warning!)

This is going to be BIG.

What should you price your seed round at? Well, it depends. I could probably write a book on venture round pricing dynamics. It would have lots of philosophy, religion, theory, fiction, and pontification. However, since I only have time for a blog post, I''ll settle for actual data. Since January of 2010, when I led my first seed investment in Backupify , I have led or committed to 27 investments.

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Here is How to Make Sense of Conflicting Startup Advice

Both Sides of the Table

Everybody has a blog these days and there is much advice to be had. Many startups now go through accelerators and have mentors passing through each day with advice – usually it’s conflicting. There are bootcamps, startup classes, video interviews – the sources are now endless. What is a founder to do?

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How Not to Let the Crazy In

This is going to be BIG.

A friend of mine is starting a huge new project. She told me that 2015 is going to be the craziest year she''s ever had. I suggested to her that it will certainly be the busiest, but that she didn''t have to let the crazy in. We throw around the word "crazy" but in all seriousness, mental health is something that doesn''t get much discussion in the startup world.

Brooklyn Bridge Ventures invested in Ringly because being present is fashionable

This is going to be BIG.

A year ago, I wrote a post about how I was trying to keep my phone away during meals-- No Phone with Food. These days, we''ve got so much that can distract us, being present has become a rare feat. I''ve tried to stick to it, but it''s hard. I run my own business and I try and make myself available whenever my entrepreneurs need me.

Why Your Startup is More Likely to Succeed if You’re Authentic and Passionate

Both Sides of the Table

In my Twitter bio is says that I’m “ looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs ,” which almost sounds like I was just looking for a cliché soundbite to describe myself. Yet along with “authenticity” they are two of the key attributes I look for when I meet with companies I may consider funding one day. Passion is also the featured heavily in nearly every presentation I give to entrepreneurs or on college campuses or in talks with MBA students.

Upfront Ventures Raised New $280 Million Fund

Both Sides of the Table

We also promoted Jordan Hudson to principal in 2014 and have encouraged him to begin looking at deals. We’ve been dying to tell you all for a while that we had raised a new venture capital fund and of course given SEC filing requirements the story was somewhat already scooped by the always-in-the-know Dan Primack a few weeks ago. We raised $280 million.

A Seriously Great Story and Why We Funded Them

Both Sides of the Table

We are often asked how companies get funded, why VCs make the decisions we make and what we’re looking for in entrepreneurs. I think this is a Seriously great example of how this process works for at least one VC – Upfront Ventures. But I’m guessing the narrative is similar elsewhere. I first met Andrew Stalbow , the founder & CEO of Seriously in August of 2013. He hit me from two very trusted sources.

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Please Help Me Congratulate Jordan Hudson as @UpfrontVC’s Newest Investment Principal

Both Sides of the Table

Our theme for 2014 is “teach a firm to fish” where we build more scalable support for portfolio companies. Happy official New Year’s, all. It’s that time of year where we think about new beginnings. And there’s none that makes me happier than to announce that Jordan Hudson has been promoted to a Principal at Upfront Ventures. Please help me congratulate him by Re/Tweeting this post (and following him if you don’t already).

Why I’m Standing Today with My African American Friends, Family & Colleagues

Both Sides of the Table

John Green (@johngreen) December 4, 2014. “It stops today.” ” I spent the entire day yesterday in a deposition so I was offline from the world around me – a rare day of no email, no social media and even no news. I had been awake since 5am, returned home from work at 9:15pm and was exhausted with my only goal of decompressing and tuning out from the world. I could not. I barely slept last night.

What is the Right Burn Rate at a Startup Company?

Both Sides of the Table

I was reading Danielle Morrill’s blog post today on whether one’s “ Startup Burn Rate is Normal. ” I highly recommend reading it. I love how transparently Danielle lives her startup (& encourages other to join in) because it provides much needed transparency to other startups. Danielle goes through some commentary from Bill Gurley, Fred Wilson and Marc Andreessen about burn rate and then goes on to discuss her own burn rate and others publicly weigh in.

Putting Tom Perkins Comments into Context

Both Sides of the Table

Tom Perkins is one of the founding members of the venerable venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins. He just had his Mitt Romney moment and his name will forever be etched in the collective consciousness of the tech community for this terribly insensitive and tone deaf letter to the Wall Street Journal. The headline of Mr. Perkins letter to the WSJ? Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?

The 2014 Class of SaaS IPOs

Tomasz Tunguz

2014 has been a great year for SaaS companies. Third, the average SaaS IPO in 2014 raised 4 rounds of capital. The 2014 Class of SaaS IPOs show there are many different ways of building a business. By my count, 9 of them will have gone public. Meanwhile, SaaS companies in both the public and private markets continue to fetch premium valuations.

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Why ADD Might Actually Benefit Startup Entrepreneurs

Both Sides of the Table

This weekend I was reading the NY Times online and I came across this excellent piece about ADHD written by Richard Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry.

The Strong Rejection

This is going to be BIG.

When I turn down the opportunity to invest in a startup, I really turn it down. I try and say exactly what I don''t believe will happen, or why I don''t believe in what you''re doing. In essence, I''m setting myself up to either be spectacularly wrong or to be right. The last thing I want is to not have a view on the space. My job is to have views--because not making a bet is making a bet.

25 Pieces of B t You Hear About Startups

This is going to be BIG.

This list needs no explanation: 1) You need a technical co-founder. 2) We''re really interested in what you''re up to, but would love to see just a little more traction before we fund it. 3) No one else can do this. 4) We decided not to charge our initial customers. 5) It''s easier to get funded on the west coast. 6) This is projected to be a $54 billion dollar industry by 2019. 7) Google can''t do this. 8) We''re oversubscribed in this round.