Entrepreneurial

Is Airbnb growing too fast?

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

Airbnb is on a tear. Three years after the San Francisco-based company began inviting real people to list for rent their homes and apartments, castles and houseboats, users have booked 1.9 million nights in more than 184 countries; bookings are growing an astonishing 40 percent month over month; and roughly 1,000 new properties are entered into its system each day.

The company is growing so fast, in fact, that it’s reportedly raising $100 million at a whopping $1 billion valuation — a mighty addition to the $8 million in capital it has previously raised from Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and numerous individuals.

Unfortunately for Airbnb, all the hype has captured the attention of the Samwer brothers, who’ve famously created a number of successful clones. Indeed, just two weeks after rumors of Airbnb’s massive fund-raise surfaced, the Samwers’ months-old European clone, Wimdu, announced it raised $90 million.

Considering that the majority of Airbnb’s business comes from Europe, one might consider the development troubling. But Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s 28-year-old CEO and co-founder, said he doesn’t think that it “changes things much. We were always expecting some competition. We just have to grow as quickly as possible.”

10 marketing lessons for early stage tech startups

– 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. –

I made every textbook mistake at my first startup, which is why I believe I was much more effective at my second one. I have adopted the motto “good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment.” We need to learn from doing, by trial and error.

If I can help you avoid some of my first-time mistakes it would be a victory. The following are some lessons I learned about early-stage startup marketing. Because market is such a broad topic, I’m restricting these lessons to PR marketing (as opposed SEO, SEM, product marketing, etc.).

Founder-market fit a key for startups

– 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. –

An extremely useful concept that has grown popular among startup founders is what eminent entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen calls “product/market fit,” which he defines as “being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” Andreessen argues persuasively that product/market fit is “the only thing that matters for a new startup” and that “the life of any startup can be divided into two parts: before product/market fit and after product/market fit.”

But it takes time to reach product/market fit. Founders have to choose a market long before they have any idea whether they will reach product/market fit. In my opinion, the best predictor of whether a startup will achieve product/market fit is whether there is what David Lee calls “founder/market fit”. Founder/market fit means the founders have a deep understanding of the market they are entering, and are people who “personify their product, business and ultimately their company.”

Note to entrepreneurs: Your idea is not special

– Brad Feld is a managing director at the Boulder, Colorado-based venture capital firm Foundry Group. He also co-founded TechStars and writes the popular blog, Feld Thoughts. The views expressed are his own. –

Every day I get numerous emails from software and Internet entrepreneurs describing their newest ideas.

Often these entrepreneurs think their idea is brand new – that no one has ever thought of it before. Other times they ask me to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect their idea. Occasionally the emails mysteriously allude to the idea without really saying what it is.

Notes on raising seed financing

– 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. –

I recently taught a class via Skillshare (disclosure: Founder Collective is an investor) about how to raise a seed round. After a long day I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and I stayed well past the scheduled end time. I think it worked well because the audience was full of people actually starting companies, and they came well prepared (they were all avid readers of tech blogs and had seemed to have done a lot of research).

I sketched some notes for the class which I’m posting below. I’ve written ad nauseum on this blog (see contents page) about venture financing so hadn’t planned to blog more on the topic. But since I wrote up these notes already, here they are.

NEA seeks seed stage deals

– Alastair Goldfisher is the Editor-in-Charge at the Venture Capital Journal, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared on PE Hub. –

New Enterprise Associates is planning to step up its pace of early stage investments, thanks in part, no doubt, to how the plummeting costs of launching a business make smaller investments potentially more lucrative.

NEA, which last month made early stage investments in Inporia, a stealth ecommerce startup, and Grubwithus, a social dining service, has reportedly formed NEA Seed Fund to target seed stage deals.

As startups ponder the secondary market, more seem to make private info public

– Mark Boslet is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

The secondary markets for private company stock may seem like the Wild West, with unstructured valuations and less than ideal information disclosure.

Yet several securities laws apply to transactions now taking place, and the onus falls on companies to follow rules meant to level the playing field, including making some confidential information about their businesses public.

Entrepreneur’s tweet sparks fight with angels

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Last month, entrepreneur Matt Mireles published a tweet, asking: “Why is TechStars NYC run by a non-entrepreneur?”

The “non-entrepreneur” in question is 29-year-old David Tisch, whose grandfather built Loews into a Fortune 100 company that operates hotel chains, and whose family’s largess has helped bankroll numerous institutions, including the Tisch Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Since 2007, the young Tisch has been seed-funding startups with his brothers. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has also started two Internet companies, both of which were shuttered in less than a year’s time.

An entrepreneur takes on LinkedIn – and Facebook

The Facebook logo is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Entrepreneur Rick Marini has a lot to be thankful for, including smart, connected friends who’ve supported him in the launch of two of his businesses. The most recent of these is BranchOut, which leverages Facebook to help people find business connections and that has an enviable list of backers and advisers.

Best practices for raising a VC round

An employee counts money at a foreign currency exchange in Tokyo. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Chris Dixon is co-founder of Hunch and founder of Founder Collective, and an investor in many early-stage companies like Skype and Foursquare. Previously he co-founded Siteadvisor, which was acquired by McAfee. This blog originally appeared on cdixon.org. The views expressed are his own. –

Having raised a number of VC rounds personally and observed many more as an investor or friend, I’ve come to think there are a set of dominant best practices that entrepreneurs should follow.

  •