Did Facebook and Twitter Make Us Better or Worse in 2016?

This is going to be BIG.

It made me ask the following question: Were we better off in 2016 having Facebook and Twitter around? Sometimes we're great and sometimes we're not--but I fear that 2016 has brought out the worst in too many of us. Yesterday, I got caught up in letting my frustration over the election boil over onto Twitter, and it's definitely not the first time. I talked about it with a few people.

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Some Thoughts on Leadership Going into 2016

Both Sides of the Table

It’s a new year – 2016. 2016 is going to be a tough year. Having time to think about “leadership” at most startups feels like a luxury. It feels like something you could turn your attention to once you have tens of millions of dollars and a large staff to run operations and you could step back from it all and think about how to lead. The reality of most startups is about survival.

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The Full Dataset on What VCs are Thinking About Funding in 2016

Both Sides of the Table

Our last thoughts on the VC funding markets heading into 2016 was published here and I followed up with a little more context on the resetting of the venture industry , some thoughts on how startups are valued and how to think about burn rates at startups. VC survey data 2016 from Mark Suster. Every year at Upfront we try to analyze the venture markets. We try to look at the sources of capital, the valuations, exits and trends.

What Do Industry Insiders Think Will Happen in VC in 2016?

Both Sides of the Table

Of course sentiment can swing wildly with new information but I set out to take the pulse of the market as we enter 2016. My conversations with LPs tell me that 2016 is one of their business calendars in years and unless we see an unexpected, sudden downturn expect the market size in 2016 to remain at current levels or increase. And the outlook for 2016 shows 77% of VCs expect it to take even longer in the months ahead. Upfront vc analysis 2016 from Mark Suster.

What Do LPs Think of the Venture Capital Markets for 2016?

Both Sides of the Table

Final upfront lp survey data 2016 from Mark Suster. At the Upfront Summit in early February, we had a chance to have many off-the-record conversations with Limited Partners (LPs) who fund Venture Capital (VC) funds about their views of the market.

Excited to be an Investor in The Wing

This is going to be BIG.

It means a lot to me to find financial opportunities investing in companies that I can be really proud of--education companies like Tinybop and Tinkergarten , or companies at the forefront of fair labor practices like Homer Logistics. There are others that haven't launched that I'm equally as proud and excited about--and now one more has launched. I'm thrilled to be an investor in The Wing --a Home Base for Women on Their Way.

How to Perform Inception on a VC

This is going to be BIG.

One of my favorite phrases is "performing inception". Inception is one of my favorite movies and I love the idea of meticulously planning out the placement of an idea in someone else's head. That's basically what founders have to do when they fundraise, because you'll never be more successful with an investor who thought it was their brilliant idea to invest in your company, not yours. Remember what we learned from the movie.

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Do Androids Get Songs Stuck in Their Heads? My investment in Amper Music.

This is going to be BIG.

This weekend, Heathens by Twenty One Pilots has been stuck in my head. It has such a great sound--and I wanted to figure out what else I could listen to that sounded like it. I don't mean bands that are liked by other people who like Twenty One Pilots. I literally mean songs that sound like it. or maybe just remixed versions of it. I wanted to engage with music, but I can't, because I don't have the ability to manipulate the "source code" of the song.

The Bad Advice Diverse Founders are Given Around Fundraising

This is going to be BIG.

I can't think of a single time when a white man came to pitch me and I told him his fundraising plans weren't aggressive enough. Yet this is a message I'm giving to women and people of color all the time. It's not that this latter group isn't aggressive enough--after all, they're ditching everything else they could to to start companies. Something else is at play.

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How I Promise You One of the Most Meaningful Days of Your Life

Both Sides of the Table

I know the title “I promise you one of the most meaningful days of your life” sounds grandiose but I mean it and I hope you’ll read through to the end and choose to take one small, totally free action, that will change your life and likely those of others.

Venture Capital is About Human Capital

Both Sides of the Table

Gregg Johnson, CEO of Invoca For the first 5 years or so after I became a VC I didn’t talk much about what I thought a VC should be excellent at since frankly I wasn’t sure. I was mostly doing my job and trying to figure out how to be better every day. After a decade on the job I’ve started to speak more openly when newer industry colleagues now ask me what I’ve learned. The number one advice I give is “stop trying to be too smart”.

How I Invest

Both Sides of the Table

I was speaking recently to the team at NuOrder , an LA-based company we’re an investor in about “realism in startups” — an impromptu talk I have given to any of our portfolio companies who ask. During the Q&A I was asked about how I make investment decisions in early-stage businesses. I was asked again in an LP meeting later in the week and then again at a founder breakfast gathering we hosted yesterday. I answered in the same way I always do so I thought I’d just write it publicly. “I

The Top 6 Posts of 2016

Tomasz Tunguz

2016 was a year of change for SaaS, and most of the story was the public market. The Hottest Startup Sectors In 2016 - published on January 3rd, this post reviewed the patterns of investment in startups, and in particular, the sectors where investors were increasing their investment the fastest. It’s been a wonderful 2016 and I’m looking forward to another exciting year in 2017 The end of the year is fast approaching.

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Why Acceptance of Failure is Critical to Startup Success

Both Sides of the Table

I talk about failure a lot because I think it can be tremendously instructive and I think that success without failure often masks underlying lessons. I even prefer to fund entrepreneurs who have experience some level of set-backs in their careers or startups because I think it brings a humility to decision-making that I find healthy.

Why I Backed a 24-Year-Old Trying to Assess Human Potential

Both Sides of the Table

Today Upfront Ventures is announcing that we’ve backed Rebecca Kantar ’s startup Imbellus , a company designed to assess human potential and ultimately change the way we teach children. We led a $4 million investment along with Thrive Capital, GLG and Sound Ventures. The news blogs will cover the what, how and how much but I want to focus on the “why” and try to be instructive of what I think makes for a great A-round startup.

This Article About Andy Dunn and Bonobos is the Blueprint for Founder Storytelling

This is going to be BIG.

I just read an article about Bonobos --or was it a press release. I'm not completely sure. If you've met Andy Dunn, you'll know why that's going to be a fine line for any reporter, because it's nearly impossible to have a conversation with him without getting wrapped up in a story optimized to share. And damn, does he have his story and the ability to perform inception with it down cold.

How to Decrease the Odds That Your Startup Fails

Both Sides of the Table

But that’s harder to build in 2016 than it was in say 2005. Many startup businesses – tech or otherwise – fail. In our industry we applaud the efforts for entrepreneurs to have tried and we know that today’s failure can bring the experience for tomorrow’s success.

Proudly Investing in Businesses that *Get Better* as People Use Actually Them, Not Worse

This is going to be BIG.

Classpass is nothing short of phenomenon--and it's particularly noticeable to me because I passed on its seed round. In my defense, I passed when it was Classtivity, a completely different model focused searching for classes. Obviously, the pivot worked out for them. Still, it's a bit frustrating to see them end their "Unlimited" option to the chagrin of many of their users--just a few months after raising their prices.

The Coming Shift in Enterprise Software

Both Sides of the Table

Today it has been announced that I’m leading a $15 million funding round in Tact , a new generation of Enterprise Software company along with other investors including Microsoft Ventures and previous investors Accel and Redpoint Rather than just waxing lyrically about how great the company is I thought I’d provide some context about why I invested and also about a fundamental change I see in the coming years in the way enterprise software is used. Why Invest?

Q1 2016 Startup Investment Trends

Tomasz Tunguz

2016 is off to a slower start than 2015. billion in Q1 2016, a decline of about 17%. Nevertheless, Q1 2016 activity exceeded Q1 2014. The first quarter in 2016 has been the hardest quarter to raise a seed round in the past five years. Q1 venture capital investment remains steady relative to Q4 2015 at about $15 billion, but down from the near records attained in 2015.

Leave Your White Guy Behind

This is going to be BIG.

I wasn't present at the event, but I heard about it and found this tweet that separately referenced the comment: To the brave black woman who asked what to do when ppl tell her to get a white man as the face of her org,Im so sorry for @Bethenny 's answer — Marah Lidey (@marahml) April 9, 2016.

Lead, Follow or Get the F**k Out of the Way

Both Sides of the Table

Lead — It’s hard to be a real leader. Decisions are never black or white, so most people fudge. The straddle middle grounds to keep everybody happy. They make compromises to try and hold together constituencies. On business decisions they want to hedge their bets so they do a little bit of everything but nothing extremely well. As highlighted by Brad Garlinghouse years ago in the famous “ peanut butter manifesto ”— it’s like spreading peanut butter evenly over a piece of bread.

Confessions of a Privileged White Male and Former Conservative

This is going to be BIG.

I was born in Brooklyn in 1979, which means that the number one issue growing up in the 1980's and early 1990's was crime. In 1990, there were 2,245 murders in the city, nearly 10x the annual rate we have now. By the way, I'm white and back then, similar to now, you can't talk about crime without taking about race. I grew up in Bensonhurst. You might remember that as the area of Brooklyn where Yusef Hawkins was killed in 1989.

MakeSpace Raises an Additional $17.5 million and Unveils Strategy to Make Public Storage the Next Blockbuster Video

Both Sides of the Table

million in funding on TechCrunch led by Harmony Partners and Upfront Ventures to double its footprint of 3 cities (New York, Chicago & Washington DC) to 6 in 2016. MakeSpace , the leading provider of next-generation storage for consumers, today announced an additional $17.5 We raised this capital in what has increasingly become a difficult market for fund raising so I’d like to share with you some details on how we get it done. Strategy.

Why I Don’t Celebrate Income Inequality

Both Sides of the Table

What drives economic inequality in the US? Should we be concerned about the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of the many? I am not writing about this out of the blue – this seems to be the topic of the day in my social stream based on blogs written, retweets rendered and attaboys handed out. I found the conversation a bit disconcerting.

Punching Above Your Weight as a Founder: Why I invested in Bizly

This is going to be BIG.

I'm a founder. Sure, I'm an investor, too, but I started Brooklyn Bridge Ventures , the firm I invest out of. That means that in addition to thinking about what kinds of investments I'm going to make, I need to think about where I'm going to work, payroll, business cards, all that stuff. As we've seen, the "business stack" of a variety of services entrepreneurs run on everyday has changed dramatically over the last few years.

What Most People Don’t Understand About How Startup Companies are Valued

Both Sides of the Table

I recently survey more than 150 VC friends from all stages and geographies what they thought about the market by asking “Which of the following statements best describes your mood heading into 2016?” I wonder whether LinkedIn’s stock market plunge in January 2016 might have a similar effect (to a lesser magnitude because the underlying company is still great).

Why Raising Too Much Money Can Harm Your Startup

Both Sides of the Table

Amongst the most often asked questions I get from founders is, “How much money should I raise?” Reflexively founders want to raise as much money as they can because they figure it will give them more resources, better chances of competing and a longer runways before they have to do the often painful job of asking, yet again, for money. Every time you ask for money you’re faced with the possible of feeling literally and figuratively like a failure.

How Do VCs Choose Their Investors (and should entrepreneurs care?)

Both Sides of the Table

I recently read a blog post by Beezer Clarkson, Managing Director of Sapphire Ventures about why entrepreneurs should care about from whom their VC funds raise their capital. I spent a bunch of time thinking about this position — especially since Beezer is an investor in Upfront Ventures. There are a lot of things I think entrepreneurs should care about when raising from a VC: How big or small their fund is? What percentage of their fund will you be?

Why Misunderstanding Startup Metrics Can Cost You Your Business

Both Sides of the Table

There has been a lot of public debate over the past several weeks about whether it’s a good thing to be “gross margin positive” or not and commentary always reminds me that some people at startups don’t quite understand financial metrics or even how to think about which ones are healthy. When I publicly Tweeted that all companies should be gross margin positive many people pointed out that Amazon wasn’t profitable for many years. Gross margin positive !=

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Things I believe.

This is going to be BIG.

I believe in solvable problems, but that you can't make progress on them until everyone involved accepts responsibility for causing them. I believe that if you aim for compromise, you will be less successful than if you aim for creativity. I believe that if you treat people like you believe they can be better than they are, they will be. I believe that if you're not doing everything you can to get them there, they'll fail without you.

The Hottest Startup Sectors in 2016

Tomasz Tunguz

Which of the 16 major start of categories in information technology will reap disproportionate share of investment dollars in 2016? This may be a breakout category in 2016 for Series A investments. Given the amount of seed investor interest, I expect many of these marketplaces to raise series A dollars in 2016. In conclusion, big data, education, marketplaces, and SaaS should see strong investment activity in 2016.

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Why Computer Vision Tracking the Flow of People Will be a Huge Market

Both Sides of the Table

Density laser tracking above a doorway As I’ve written before I believe Computer Vision will become a major factor as a Human-Computer Interface (1) as sensors and cameras help us make sense of our physical world. There is so much in the media about “The Internet of Things” that it has lost meaning and for many for some strange reason it became a short-hand for wearables.

Why You Should Put Yourself Out There and Try New Products

Both Sides of the Table

In 2016 I finally cracked SnapChat with the launch of Discovery. David Tirazona (@TirazonaD) March 7, 2016. In 2006 I started using Facebook and most of my friends & colleagues thought I was strange. They thought it was like MySpace and why did I need a MySpace page? In 2007 I started using Twitter and most of my friends & colleagues wondered why people would care what I ate for lunch. In 2008 I started VC blogging. I had blogged when I was an entrepreneur.

Five Lessons Learned Getting to a Second Fund

This is going to be BIG.

Today, I'm happy to announce that Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, the firm I founded and continue to run as the sole General Partner, has raised a second fund, totalling $15.1 million in commitments. Nearly all of our existing investors returned, and they were joined by a couple of new family offices and a prominent college endowment. What does this mean? Most importantly, I get to keep going. Having a job is way better than being out of one.

The Long Economic Case for Snapchat

Both Sides of the Table

Yesterday I wrote a primer on how to use Snapchat for my peer group of “over 30” people who don’t yet “get” Snapchat. Today I want to talk briefly about why I believe Snapchat is an important media company.

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How to Fill a Building Full of Tech and Startup People

This is going to be BIG.

815 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY - A former turn of the century era bank building that will soon house creative folks. Don't you just hate it when you own an old building made like no one makes buildings anymore in an up and coming area--and you've got no cool startupy/creative/tech tenants in it yet? I know, I know--we've all been there. Well, have no fear, I've got your solution right here. Here's my "How to Fill a Building Full of Tech and Startup People" plan in five easy steps.