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What Mistakes Do VCs Make When Fundraising?

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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of talking to Samir Kaji on the Venture Unlocked podcast about a wide range of topics that we as venture capitalists think about everyday, including: How to build a generational firm?—?retaining

Playing the Long Game in Venture Capital

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Silicon Valley and the media industry that surrounds it values youth. The culture is driven by the 20-something irreverent founder with huge technical chops who in a “David vs. Goliath” mythology take on the titans of industry and wins.

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On Funding?—?The Denominator Effect

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On Funding?—?The The Denominator Effect I recently wrote a post about funding for investors to think about having a diversified portfolio , which I called “shots on goal.”

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On Funding?—?Shots on Goal

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On Funding?—?Shots

The Forrester Wave™: B2B Marketing Data Providers, Q2 2021

In our 24-criterion evaluation of B2B marketing data providers, we identified the 11 most significant vendors — Data Axle, Dun & Bradstreet, Enlyft, Global Database, InsideView, Leadspace, Oracle, SMARTe, Spiceworks Ziff Davis, TechTarget, and ZoomInfo Technologies — and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This report shows how each provider measures up and helps B2B marketing professionals select the right one for their needs.

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.

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.

How to Make Sense of the PPP Loan Program for VC-Backed Startups

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There is so much confusion and misinformation out there about the government sponsored “payroll protection plan” loans to companies that the heads of every small business CEO in the country must be spinning.

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.

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.

4 AI Hacks to Make Sales Teams More Efficient

Over the last two years, there’s been a 76 percent increase in AI adoption across sales organizations. For sales teams, AI opens up a world of new possibilities, including automating outreach, identifying best-fit buyers, and keeping CRMs flush with fresh data. Read on to learn the four AI hacks sales teams need to improve their performance. Download the eBook today!

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.

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.

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

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.

How to Overcome the Pain Points of Your CRM

CRM software is a powerful tool when used correctly, yet another obstacle to a sales team’s efficiency when it’s not. Leveraging research and commentary from industry analysts, this eBook explores how your sales team can get back valuable time by overcoming some pain points with your CRM, such as low adoption rates, integrations, and data quality.

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.

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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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.

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.

4 Data-Driven Steps To Drive Successful B2B Demand Generation

Fact: Good data lives at the core of every successful B2B demand generation strategy. Without quality data, it’s nearly impossible to identify and segment your target audience and create messaging that speaks to their values and interests. Whether you’re stepping into a new position or you’re new to demand generation, learning the tricks of the trade can be, well, tricky. In this eBook, you’ll discover how to improve your demand generation program—and your bottom line.

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 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.

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.

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.

The Modern Customer Success Playbook

The evolution of every high-functioning, effective customer success strategy centers around three C’s: connected experiences, an engaging customer journey, and a culture built on customer-centricity. Satisfaction won’t cut it. Quarterbacking your customers to long-term success and growth is proven to combat churn and transform customer success teams into revenue-drivers. But where do you start? Download the playbook today!

Why you should never have a data room — the most counter-intuitive fund-raising advice you’ll ever…

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Why you should never have a data room?—?the the most counter-intuitive fund-raising advice you’ll ever get I’m about to offer you some fund-raising advice that flies directly in the face of what most conventional wisdom will tell you. If you stick through to the end I’m guessing I can persuade most of you. Let me start out with my premise: “Data rooms are where fund-raising processes go to die.” I have to back up and give you more context.

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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.

Why @UpfrontVC invested in Disruptive Rental Car Startup @Skurt

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Rental cars. I have never met a person who loved their rental car company or the experience of turning up at an airport, waiting in line, paying a huge fee and then dealing with returns, airport shuttle buses and so forth not to mention half-washed and smelly cars. I think the closest parallel I have is the feeling I had for taxi cabs (inconvenient, smelly, expensive) before Uber. The rental car companies have a million scams to get more money out of you – mostly notably the gasoline scam.

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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A Proven Guide to Recruiting Passive Candidates

It's a simple, frustrating truth that you can't predict everything when it comes to recruiting for businesses. At some point in your role as a recruiter - perhaps more frequently than not - you'll need to fill a position quickly and you'll look for active recruitment strategies to do it. However, it's not efficient or cost-effective to be in the active recruitment mode all the time. It's important to also invest in building a passive candidate pipeline. Download the guide for tips that can help you build a recruitment strategy that attracts both active and passive candidates for the best possible mix.

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 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.

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.

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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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!

The VC Inclusion Clause #MovingForward

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Upfront Ventures has a deep-seated commitment to equality in funding & building diverse teams across all ethnicities, nationalities and genders. We do this not just because it’s the right thing to do but also we believe it will help drive large and differentiated returns. In 2017 we began inserting an “Inclusion Clause” into our term sheets because we believe that the culture one establishes at the earliest stages of one’s business will set out the course of how it will grow and develop.