Entrepreneurial

Why governments don’t get startups

– Steve Blank is a serial entrepreneur. He teaches at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley’s Haas Business School and at Columbia. He is the author of “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” and “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

Not understanding and agreeing what “Entrepreneur” and “Startup” mean can sink an entire country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

I’m getting ready to go overseas to teach, and I’ve spent the last week reviewing several countries’ ambitious attempts to kick-start entrepreneurship. After poring through stacks of reports, white papers and position papers, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

1) They sure killed a ton of trees

2) With one noticeable exception, governmental entrepreneurship policies and initiatives appear to be less than optimal, with capital deployed inefficiently (read “They would have done better throwing the money in the street.”) Why? Because they haven’t defined the basics:

What’s a startup? Who’s an entrepreneur? How do the ecosystems differ for each one? What’s the role of public versus private funding?

The No. 1 predictor of startup failure: Premature scaling

— Joanna Glasner is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

In the wake of Solyndra’s revelation of an impending bankruptcy filing, the latest report from The Startup Genome Project makes for a timely read.

The report, published this week, crunches data from a set of more than 3,200 companies, seeking to identify the qualities that make startups most likely to either succeed or fail.

Do you want to sell sugar water or do you want to change the world?

– Chris Dixon is the co-founder of Hunch and of seed fund Founder Collective. This blog originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?” – Steve Jobs

I sometimes wish that instead of working on Internet and software projects, I worked on cleantech or biotech projects. That way, when I came home at night, I’d know that I had literally spent my day trying to cure cancer or prevent global warming. But information technology is what I know, and it’s probably too late for me to learn a new field from scratch.

The entrepreneur’s equivalent of “10,000 hours”

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on his blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

50 coffee meetings. It should stick in your head as a metaphor for networking. For getting outside of your comfort zone. For starting relationships today that won’t pay off for a year. It’s the entrepreneur’s equivalent of “10,000 hours.”

Anybody who has spent any time with me in person will be tired of this advice because I give it so frequently. It’s a piece of actionable advice that if you put into practice starting next week, will start paying dividends in the near future. There’s a direct correlation to your future success.

5 things entrepreneurs need to know about valuation

– Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software. This post originally appeared on his blog, “Planning, Startups, Stories”. The views expressed are his own. –

Valuation is one of those four-syllable business buzzwords you’re going to have to deal with, eventually, if you either want to start a business or own a business. If it doesn’t come up when you start, it will come up later. Here is what I think you need to know, in five short points.

1. The word has vastly different meanings: don’t you hate it when the same words mean different things? Valuation means at least three different things:

10 reasons not to seek investors for your startup

– Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software. This post originally appeared on his blog, “Planning, Startups, Stories”. The views expressed are his own. –

Sure, maybe you need the money. Maybe that’s what your business plan says. But seriously: Do you really want to have investors involved in your dream startup?

I’ve said it before: bootstrapping is underrated. I get frequent emails from people asking how they can get investment for their new startup, and I’ve admitted to being a member of an angel investor group. But let’s not forget, while we’re thinking about it, these 10 good reasons not to seek investors for your startup.

The coming brick wall in venture capital

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on Suster’s blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

This is the final part of a three-part series on the major changes in the structure of the software and the venture capital industries. Read Part One and Part Two.

Or the Cliff Note’s version:

    Open source and cloud computing (led by Amazon) drove down tech startup costs by 90 percent The result was a massive increase in startups and a whole group of new funding sources: both angels and “micro VCs” With more competition in early-stage many VCs are investing smaller amounts at earlier stages. Some are going later stage to not miss out on hot deals. I call this “stage drift.” The opportunities for tech startups today are more immense than they’ve ever been with billions of people now connected to the Internet nearly all the time.

But …

The rise of “micro VCs”

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on Suster’s blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

This is the second in a three-part series on the changes to the software industry over the past decade that has led to changes in the venture capital industry itself. Read Part 1 here.

If you don’t want to read that post, the summary is:

    Open source computing drove computing costs down 90 percent, which spurred innovation in technology Open cloud led by Amazon with their AWS services drove total operating costs down by 90 percent. This led to an explosion in startups. Amazon in turn led to the formation of an earlier stage of venture capital now led by what I call “micro VCs” who typically invest $250,000 to 500,000 in companies rather than the $5 to $7 million that VCs used to invest.

These trends have put pressure on traditional VCs. Some have done earlier-stage deals and done well. Others have chased earlier-stage but lack the skills or relationships to do this effectively. Some have moved into later stage investments in an effort to “put logos on their websites.”

What the Mob can teach the startup industry

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Forty-four-year-old Louis Ferrante hasn’t led a life that might naturally lead to business consulting. As a teenager growing up in Queens, New York, he stole car batteries that he “sold for $10 to get a slice of pizza and play video games.” Later, Ferrante moved on to stealing cars for joy rides, then taking orders from body shops looking for cheap parts. From there, it was a short leap to hijacking trucks and selling their contents through a neighborhood “fence.”

Eventually, Ferrante ran his own crew as an associate of the Gambino family. “When you’re hijacking trucks on the street in Queens, the Mafia is going to hear about you,” he tells me. “It’s not like they come down and say, ‘We’ll kill you if you don’t pay us.’ They take you under their wing.”

Flipboard founder on venture capitalists: “Take their money”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Many entrepreneurs privately disparage venture capitalists as egoistic, autocratic, and increasingly unnecessary. Not serial entrepreneur Mike McCue. He believes in VC.

Case in point: McCue’s newest startup, Flipboard, a 20-month-old iPad application that transforms social media feeds into an elegant, print-like magazine. Though the Palo Alto, California-based company has yet to develop a business model — McCue is contemplating running full-page ads and allowing publishers to charge subscriptions to their Flipboard-rendered content — Flipboard has already raised $60 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, and others.

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