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Kara Nortman Was Just Promoted to Co-Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures. Here’s What it All Means

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Today we’re announcing that my partner Kara Nortman is becoming Co-Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to welcome her to her new role.

How Valence Aims to Provide Better Access and Funding for Black Founders & Executives

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“I gotta say it was a good day.” I’m so fricking pumped today. Really, truly. Yeah, Valence announced > $5 million in funding led by GGV and Upfront. That IS a big deal, but I’ll get to that. But Kamala Harris was picked to be the Vice Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

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Why Has Seed Investing Declined? And What Does this Mean for the Future?

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Seed investments are down by any measure (funds, deals, dollars) over the past 3 years in deals < $1 million AND in deals between $1–5 million. What gives? Over the past month a colleague ( Chang Xu ) and I sifted through data on the venture capital industry (as we do every year) and made a bunch of calls to VCs and LPs to confirm our hypotheses.

Remind Me Why I Love You? (Why “In Person” is Everything)

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You had an amazing meeting with an investor. Your product demo crushed. The dialog was great. They told you how much they loved your space. The meeting was only supposed to last 45 minutes but you ran 90. The assistant tried to end the meeting twice but was shoooshed away. You race back to the office to tell everybody how well it went and you wait for the follow-up call to have a partners’ meeting or talk about term sheets or at least dip into due diligence. One week. Two weeks. Oh, fork.

The Best Sales Forecasting Models for Weathering Your Goals

Every sales forecasting model has a different strength and predictability method. It’s recommended to test out which one is best for your team. This way, you’ll be able to further enhance – and optimize – your newly-developed pipeline. Your future sales forecast? Sunny skies (and success) are just ahead!

My Thoughts on the Current Market: on 20-Minute VC

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Several years ago I made an appearance in a burgeoning new podcast called “20 Minute VC,” which by now needs no introduction. Harry was gracious enough to invite me back so this past week we recorded an episode discussing the current market environment. Please download the episode here , if for no other reason than to make Harry happy :) but I’ve also included some quick notes below including a few notes I didn’t share in the podcast (and vice versa by the way?—?if

What Happens When Startups Turn from Their Innovation Stage to Operational Excellence?

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Nearly every successful tech startup I’ve observed over the past 20 years has gone through a similar growth pattern: Innovate, systematize then scale operations. An alternate outcome that I also unfortunately observe in some cases are companies who had extreme early success with an initial product adoption but failed in key areas that limited the growth and therefore the ultimate financial outcomes.

My Commencement Speech?—?Life at Your Crossroads

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My Commencement Speech?—?Life Life at Your Crossroads Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash Crossroads Cal Poly Pomona! What’s up!?! I’m so grateful to be up here addressing you today. Today you’re either here to graduate or support somebody graduating. A graduate is at his or her first major crossroad in life. You are faced with decisions about which road to take. That is the theme of my speech today. My 8 tips for the crossroads you will face.

A Bigger Truth About Restaurant Food Delivery

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Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash I was listening to Dan Primack’s podcast on Pro Rata and he was interviewing Senator Klobucher who is now publicly and vocally speaking out against Uber purchasing Grubhub and has tried to mobilize against this. Her argument is that if Uber buys Grubhub (which itself once merged with Seamless) it would mean that Uber Eats / Grubhub would control half the market and that with DoorDash the two together would control 90% of the market.

Why Meg Whitman is Betting on Quibi as“The Da Vinci Code of Content”

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Every year, a personal Upfront Summit highlight is getting to sit down with experts in a field I care about. Sometimes that’s venture capital generally (like last year’s conversation with Reid Hoffman ) and sometimes it’s in a space where I’ve invested (like mobility and city innovation with Bird’s Travis VanderZanden , one of our portfolio founders.)

B2B Pocket Playbook: End-to-End Guide to Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is the strategic process of providing sales teams with the content, guidance, and mentorship needed to engage targeted buyers. It’s all about equipping sales professionals with the tools they need to put their best-selling foot forward. And if sales teams want to continuously sell better -- and faster -- their sales enablement process must have a game-winning strategy. It's time for you to start selling smarter - and hitting your sales number - with the best B2B database in the market. Get started today.

Bevy is Emerging as a Leader in Software for Building Virtual Communities???with $15 million to?

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Bevy is Emerging as a Leader in Software for Building Virtual Communities?—?with with $15 million to Prove It The venture capital world has started firing up a few cylinders again and looking for businesses that it believes will help us all succeed in ways that resonate with new ways of working as we begin to return to work. It’s clear things have changed for good and the need for managing remote communities of employees, customers and partners has become ever more important.

This is the Dumbest Op Ed I’ve Read in a While

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I understand that Adam Grant is a fairly popular professor at Wharton and has a book that some people loved called “Originals” (for me it interesting but not mind blowing, and I have some first-hand knowledge of some of its inaccuracies). Having read his latest op-ed on email I know why I erred towards the side of of not loving his book as much as some did. I think his advice is this op-ed is bananas.

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How to Improve Your Odds of Getting to Yes with a VC — “Land and Expand”

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If you’ve read any of my ongoing series on fund raising from venture capitalist (episode 1?— ?controlling controlling your psychology ) you no doubt have heard me say that raising capital is a sales & marketing process.

What Did I Learn From the First VC Check I Ever Wrote?

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I became a VC 12 years ago in 2007 when the pace of deals was much slower. I had just left Salesforce.com where I was VP, Products, after they had acquired my second startup. As I was trying to figure out the role I wanted to play in the VC world I decided I wanted to focus on businesses that were building deeply technical products to solve problems for business users.

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Pressure Points: How to Ensure Your B2B Pipeline Passes Inspection

This eBook highlights best practices for developing a pipeline management process that helps sales leaders and their team C.L.O.S.E (you’ll see what we mean in this eBook) more revenue through data-driven prospecting, stage analysis, and subsequent sales enablement.

A Deep Dive into What Has Really Changed in Venture Capital

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I’ve heard a lot of people question whether there is too much money in venture capital chasing too few great deals. “We’re We’re in a new tech bubble!” some have pronounced. Valuations are out of control” is the mantra of others. Others believe that new business models are emerging that could replace venture capital all together.

What Can You Learn From Ring’s Astounding Success?

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Many people will write the history on why Ring became an enormously successful company and why it became a real-world unicorn in a world when many startups are anointed that merely on paper. Since I had a ringside seat to the company before it really existed all the way through the end I thought I’d offer my version and what I think it means for our future.

How to Out Amazon, Amazon

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There has always been tension between CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies and the retailers who sell their products to consumers. If a consumer will pay a fixed price for a product or service then the battle over who gets the margin in any sale is between the person who merchandises a product and the person who manufactures it. This is an age-old marketplace tension where leverage often determines the value captured. This is true whether it’s physical products or media products.

How Many Investors Should You Talk to in a VC Fund Raise? And How Do You Prioritize?

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This is part of a series of advice for founders who need to raise money from venture capitalists. The first in the series is “ Lemons Ripen Early ,” which also has a link to other posts. The most important advice I could give you before you set out in fund raising mode is to understand that fund-raising a sales & marketing process and needs to be managed. Somehow many first-time founders equate “sales” with something that is beneath them.

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Marketing-Led Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategies

Businesses are laying off workers, shutting their doors (some permanently), and struggling to react to the radical destruction that coronavirus (COVID-19) is doing to our society and communities. Most have already sustained massive damage, and we still have yet to see the scope of impact of the global pandemic that has upended the globe. Any return to normalcy may seem far-off, but sales and marketing are on the front lines of restarting the economy. When the dust settles, we have a responsibility to turn our shock and grief into fierce determination, and lead the charge of responsible, strategic, sustainable future growth. However, there’s no team better suited to lead that charge than the marketing department. Marketers are uniquely positioned to provide creative solutions to aid their organization in times of change and chart a course for navigating success.

Understanding What’s Going on in #LATech

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Upfront Ventures was created 20 years ago as one of the original VC funds in Los Angeles. Back then only 15% of our dollars were invested locally whereas today 50% of our dollars are invested in LA. 10 years ago we found ourselves trying to persuade LPs and VCs that it was worth spending more time getting to know the LA market and now the most common refrain that I hear from them is “there really is something going on in LA.” Don’t we know it. It’s not just Snapchat, although there’s that.

How to Talk About Valuation When a VC Asks

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One of the hardest things about the fund-raising process for entrepreneurs is that you’re trying to raise money from people who have “asymmetric information.” VC firms see thousands of deals and have a refined sense of how the market is valuing deals because they get price signals across all of these deals. As an entrepreneur it can feel as intimidating as going to buy a car where the dealer knows the price of every make & model of a car and you’re guessing at how much to pay.

I Know Everybody Told You to Send Your Fund-Raising Decks as a Link.

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I Know Everybody Told You to Send Your Fund-Raising Decks as a Link. Here’s Why You Should Just Send the Deck I know you have your document sending tool to send your fund-raising deck to VCs and track who read your deck, which pages they read and how much time they spend on each page.

How to Be a Good Board Member

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I have been writing a series on how startup boards get selected, who sits on them and what to avoid. I will also delve into how to prepare for them, how to make the meeting effective and how to best follow up to make sure people take action. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash In response to one of my posts I saw this great Tweet by Bilal Zuberi and it resonated.

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How ZoomInfo Helps Overcome the Top Pain Points of Inside Sales

Recent digital transformation has shifted the B2B landscape by ushering in the era of buyer empowerment. With more access to user reviews, analyst opinion, and industry research, decision-makers are more informed than ever while navigating what is now known as the “buyer’s journey.”

How Much Should You Raise in Your VC Round? And What is a VC Looking at in Your Model?

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There’s a quick litmus-test conversation any early-stage VC will have with the founder and it’s one that you should be as prepared for as your elevator pitch. It goes something like this … VC: “How much money are you raising?” Founder: “$8–10 million” VC: “What’s your current burn rate?” Founder: “$250k / month.” VC: “So at a constant rate of burn rate you’d be raising enough for 2.5–3 3 years. Why are you raising so much?” Founder: “Um. Let me check my plan.”

How to Run an Effective Networking Dinner

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Photo by Juliette F on Unsplash Networking is a critical part of relationship building and there is no event more valuable to building relationships than the proverbial “breaking of bread” with people. I personally run many group lunches & dinners and I attend even more so I’ve developed a set of tips I often pass along in how to make these the most effective they can be.

The Truth About the Scooter Economy?—?An Insider’s Perspective

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The Truth About the Scooter Economy?—?An An Insider’s Perspective “Bird Zero” that are custom designed by the company There is a story arc of the electric scooter market that took the world by storm in 2018, was second-guessed late in the year and has quietly re-emerged as a powerful force of growth where few really appreciate the speed and scale of what has happened. I’d like to share some insights with you.

How to Know if You Have ADD and What to Do About It

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Let me start the post with three statements. I have attention deficit disorder, it is a real condition , I have been diagnosed including having radioactive isotopes through my brain to map my development and yet I’m a leader, I have accomplished much, I did well in school and went on to earn a master’s degree and I can actually concentrate when I want to. I wasn’t even aware that I had ADD until I was 40 (I’m now 47) and knowing it has changed my life for the positive.

Marketing Ops: The New Revenue Hero

As data continues to play a starring role in today’s B2B organizations, both marketing and sales operations professionals are poised to solidify their place as critical revenue drivers. In particular, the evolution of the Marketing Operations (Ops) role has created a new standard in marketing and has become a vital component of an organization’s success.

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

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An abbreviated version of this post appeared yesterday on TechCrunch. If you want the full SlideShare deck with many slides not in either post it’s in this link –> The LA Tech Market. “There’s something going on in LA.” ” It’s the most common refrain I hear from investors and even entrepreneurs these days. I hear it right after people have decided to come by for a few days to “check out what all the fuss is about.”

How to Kick Start Your Community’s Startup Scene

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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.

The Case For & Against Cryptocurrencies (for those tired of all the noise)

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In more than a decade of writing about the Internet and tech-enabled businesses I’ve learned that mobs don’t do nuance well. If you read the headlines or talk with zealous friends you may well think cryptocurrencies are either our savior from bureaucratic, ossified governments or are purely speculative Ponzi schemes. The reality is that cryptocurrencies can be both and can be liberating and corrupting at the same time.

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

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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.

What We Learned From Our Own Data-Driven ABM Strategy

ZoomInfo has created the following eBook to help other B2B organizations gain insights on how to launch their own data-driven ABM strategy. In this eBook, we will reveal the good and the bad from our own campaign and highlight some key takeaways on how to improve your ABM strategies moving forward.

Who Should be on Your Startup Board?

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One of the things that founders have the most angst about is whom they should have on their board and at what stage of the business. This is smart because amazing board members can be transformative with important advice and access and can also help attract other great board members (and team members). Bad board members can make business very unpleasant. Do you need a board when you first start you company?

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