Paul G. Silva

Operationalize Your Startup

Paul G. Silva

About The Workshop. Startups don’t die from laziness. They die from working really hard… on the wrong things. You’ve launched your venture… now what? The financial lives of your team depends on you. When do you raise money? From who? On what terms? Is it time to hire or keep your burn low?

Gratitude for Baer Tierkel, a mentor to many, now at rest

Paul G. Silva

Baer Tierkel. The world lost Baer Tierkel last week at the age of 61. About 20 years ago I was a kid running my first startup and Baer was one of the early people to join our Board of Advisors. He came to every board meeting with deep insights and deeper belly laughs.

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How to Accelerate Valuation Growth in Services Businesses

Paul G. Silva

Private Equity firms that own professional services businesses have a challenge with growing valuations. In a services-based business it is hard to increase revenue without increasing headcount. Margins shrink as hiring, training, and retaining talent becomes progressively more difficult. Meanwhile, all of the company’s intellectual property is locked in the heads of employees, meaning that when the employees leave the building, so do the company’s assets.

A KPI for Corporate Innovation: The Valuation Index

Paul G. Silva

Leaders of global corporations are under intense pressure to grow their valuation by hitting aggressive revenue, margin, and EBITDA targets. Acquirers pay a valuation premium on recurring, high-margin, and high-growth product revenue.

The 5 Stages of Account-Based Marketing — and How to Win Them All

Successfully complete the five stages of ABM: define, identify, engage, convert, and connect. We’ll show you how to create a unified system with your sales team to help them land more qualified opportunities and connect with prospects like never before.

Co-Founding Corporate Innovation Division

Paul G. Silva

I am delighted to announce that I have joined forces with Ali Usman and the incredible team at PixelEdge. Ali and I have been friends for over a decade, mentoring countless entrepreneurs together. I’ve personally watched PixelEdge launch incredible products for startups and big companies alike. They launch on time, build right, and achieve product-market fit! .

How to Come up With Great Ideas

Paul G. Silva

If your startup/organization/team struggles with ideation (the process of coming up with ideas), you fall into one of two camps: Those who struggle to come up with any ideas. Those who come up with plenty of ideas but struggle to identify which ones are worth pursuing.

A Canvas That Tells a Story: KISS Canvas (v4.0)

Paul G. Silva

[This is part of a series on the KISS Canvas ]. 30-page business plans are great for established businesses and terrible for startups that need to iterate quickly.

Launch413 Featured on Angel Invest Boston

Paul G. Silva

I’ve been a fan for years, and now Launch413 and I have the honor of being on the Angel Invest Boston podcast. Listen to hear how Launch413 helps startup CEO’s beat the odds and attain sustained success. LinkedIn post w/ mini-video | main interview page. Innovation Accelerator

What Should Founders Be Focusing On? SSRL Can Be Their Guide.

Paul G. Silva

Entrepreneurs and investors used to rely on strictly qualitative/gut methods of assessing progress and deciding what their next steps should be. In 2014 the great Steve Blank gave the startup world its first widely-respected quantitative assessment system: the Investment Readiness Level (IRL).

The Ultimate Guide to Executive Recruiting

Sourcing the right executive candidates and filling key managerial roles in an organization can be difficult, even in the best of times. Download this eBook to level up your discovery process, talent sourcing, and strategies for reaching your best-fit candidates.

The Seven Flavors of Capital (for Startups)

Paul G. Silva

Startups need capital to launch and grow. What many entrepreneurs don’t know is that startup capital comes in many different flavors. Each flavor has its own pros and cons and is appropriate for different situations.

RVI, Launch413, Innovation Accelerator – Growing and Thriving

Paul G. Silva

For all my friends who kindly track the progress of my ventures, I have a short update :). Launch413 (the post-accelerator) – We’ve invested in 13 companies in just under 3 years, expanded our team of kick-ass Venture Advisors, and are starting to see some real results from our top companies. It is still early days, but the model seems to be scaling and our ability to deliver impact is growing.

Honored! Sigma Nu Tau

Paul G. Silva

The entrepreneurship faculty of Western New England University kindly inducted me as an honorary member of Sigma Nu Tau , the only academic honor society dedicated to entrepreneurship. My sincere thanks to WNE, and especially Mary Schoonmaker. Innovation Accelerator

Startup Pitching 301

Paul G. Silva

This is the 3rd post in the “Startup Pitching” series. In this post we’ll go over advanced-level (301) techniques. The one (maybe two) number rule. Most people can’t hold multiple numbers in their head.

12 Plays to Kickstart Your Recruitment Process

To stay ahead in this race, every recruiter needs a good playbook. In this eBook, we lay out 12 recruiting plays that can automate key steps in your recruitment process, helping you reduce both the cost and the time it takes to hire the best candidates.

RVI’s New Model 1 year in: 3x the members, 2x the investments, more diversification

Paul G. Silva

One year ago the angel group I have the honor to lead pivoted to a substantially different model. Like all pivots, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was scary as hell. But thanks to the incredible involvement of our members and our assistant manager Ethan Ferris, 2020 was our best year ever. Membership tripled , pulling in people from a much larger geography than conceivable before.

A Canvas That Tells a Story: KISS Canvas (v3)

Paul G. Silva

[This is part of a series on the KISS Canvas ]. 30-page business plans are great for established businesses and terrible for startups that need to iterate quickly.

Startup Pitching 201

Paul G. Silva

This is the 2nd post in the “Startup Pitching” series. In this post we’ll go over intermediate-level (201) techniques. Front load credibility. Investors are cynical. They have to be because about half of all angel/VC investments lose every penny invested.

Startup Pitching 101

Paul G. Silva

As a mentor once told me… It doesn’t matter if you have the best opportunity in the world, if you can’t communicate it you’re dead. This is obvious. Yet… I’ve seen thousands of presentations and the vast majority of them were confusing as heck.

12 Tips for Selling to the C-Suite

The question for sales pros is this: Are you ready for the challenge, and opportunity, of selling to the C-suite? The following 12 tips can help ensure that you and your team are.

Selecting the Top Angel Deals in the Northeast… on Google Sheets

Paul G. Silva

I am told that the angel groups of the Northeast have one of the best systems for syndicating deals in the country. There are many parts to making that happen. I have the privilege of running the nomination, application, and selection processes.

A Tool for Consistent and Sustainable Startup Growth

Paul G. Silva

This is a repost from the Launch413 blog. Effective Tools Used By Launch413: A Case Study. When we created Launch413 in 2018, we had no idea what was just around the corner. We already knew entrepreneurs were one of the best ways to create prosperity in our communities and we knew how to help them. We also knew entrepreneurs were one of the most powerful forces for good in the world.

RVI’s New Model 9 Months in: 2x members, more investments, more diversification

Paul G. Silva

For 14 years I’ve led the River Valley Investors angel investor network. A year ago the group was on death’s door. Membership was down to the lowest levels since I’d taken over leadership from our founder and my mentor, Joseph Steig. And none of us knew that COVID was just around the corner. If RVI failed then our region would have lots its only active angel group – a huge potential blow to local startups. It was time to pivot.

4 Questions to Find Your Price

Paul G. Silva

This long, detailed, and excellent article is chock full of valuable advice on pricing. One part that particularly stood out for sharing are the four questions to ask a potential customer to help you determine where to price your product. At what point is this way too expensive that you would never consider purchasing it? At what point is this starting to get expensive, but you’d still consider purchasing it? At what point is this a really good deal? You’d buy it right away.)

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The Power of Conversation Intelligence

This eBook will answer all your questions and more on Conversation Intelligence (CI) by providing a complete overview and its need in Revenue organizations - delivering impact from your Sales Development Representatives all the way to the C-Suite.

The Quick and Easy Way to Find the Best Applicant From Among Hundreds

Paul G. Silva

One of my favorite jokes goes something like this: Whenever a new position opens up, and I have to sort through a stack of resumes, the first thing I do is take half of them at random and throw them away. I don’t want unlucky people working in this department. As with many good jokes, it’s funny because it has a nugget of truth to it.

Rubber Duckies by Gaetanlee

Paul G. Silva

My thanks to Gaetanlee for making this delightful rubber duckie picture (now the header image for this website) available for all to use! Innovation Accelerator

Startup Pitching Checklist

Paul G. Silva

This is the checklist / boil down of the techniques listed in the pior 3 posts in the “Startup Pitching” series. After you complete a draft of your pitch, go over this list to make sure you’ve applied as many of the techniques as possible. Beginner (101). One rehearsed presenter – Pick one person to deliver your presentation, don’t tag team your pitches.

RVI’s first virtual angel group meeting a success, here is how we did it

Paul G. Silva

The River Valley Investors angel group just ran our first virtual meeting today. In case anything we learned can be valuable, below is a copy of a blog post we just published on our blog showing what we did to make it work. I know several other groups already ran virtual, so I’d love to hear any other best practices people have patched together.

100 Pipeline Plays: The Modern Sales Playbook

For the first time, we’re sharing the winning plays that took us from scrappy startup to a publicly traded company. Use our proven data-driven plays to grow your pipeline and crush your revenue targets.

A Taxonomy of Customer Pains and Benefits

Paul G. Silva

Your company’s value proposition must provide benefits that perfectly match your customers’ pains. First-time entrepreneurs asked to document their hypotheses about Pains and Benefits often experience “blank canvas” paralysis , the inability to get started because of a lack of a clear starting point. This blog post aims to provide a set of categories and examples to guide an entrepreneur to find the relevant pain hypotheses. Each heading lists a category of Pain/Benefit.

The Power of the Spa!

Paul G. Silva

Arguably the #1 customer discovery how-to guide is the book Talking To Humans. Here is a jem: One aspiring entrepreneur wanted to target mothers of young children. She had heard stories about talking to people in a coffee shop, but felt like it was too unfocused. So she tried hanging around school pickup zones, but the moms were too busy and refused to speak to her. Next, she tried the playground, where she figured moms would be bored watching their kids play.

Best Distillation of Exit Strategies I’ve Seen

Paul G. Silva

Marty Zwilling recently published a blog post with the most concise distillation of the possible exit strategies a for-profit startup can take and why an entrepreneur should be thinking about them from very early on. Hat tip to Paul Nicolai for sending me the article! Innovation Accelerator

RVI’s Guide To Running a Virtual Angel Group Meeting

Paul G. Silva

This post contains our up-to-date set of best practices on how the River Valley Investors angel group runs our meetings online. Last updated on: 4/9/2020. Technology of choice: Zoom. Before the event, we ask everyone to log in with a device with a camera so we can see each other. They all have been invited to a google calendar event with the link embedded in it. Created Breakout Rooms (Networking, Startup, and Scheduling) from the get-go.

Your Guide to Using Conversational Marketing to Drive Demand Generation

What is conversational marketing really about? This guide will examine the market forces at play, shifting buyer trends, how to leverage conversation marketing, and the tactics involved in adopting it for a B2B demand generation strategy.

Congrats to a Former Student Making The World A Better Place

Paul G. Silva

So much food goes to waste in our country every year. So many people are hungry. It is literally cheaper to throw food away than to give it away… until now. A few years ago I had the honor of mentoring Maria Rose Belding when she and her partners at Means Database were in the Valley Venture Mentors startup Accelerator. Her social venture is organized and dreams like a high tech silicon valley startup – but all of that energy is directed to doing good, at scale.

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