Entrepreneurial

Chicago’s startup community sticks by struggling Groupon

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

Not long ago, daily deals giant Groupon was the toast of Chicago, a press darling that received the blessing of Oprah Winfrey, was commended by Forbes as the “fastest growing company ever,” and even reportedly spurned a multibillion-dollar buyout offer from Google.

A Chicago Tribune headline from last December summed up its place in the ecosystem: “Groupon’s Success Adds Luster to Chicago’s Startup Community.”

Things have changed somewhat, of course, with Groupon experiencing numerous setbacks since filing for an IPO in June. Among them, the company has been forced to amend its S-1 three times to satisfy SEC concerns over its accounting practices; it lost a COO who’d joined five months prior; and an email leaked to the press led the company to cancel its IPO roadshow. Early this week, a financial analysis firm released a report suggesting that Groupon may now be on a “self-reinforcing path to insolvency.”

If Groupon suddenly looks to leave a mixed legacy in Chicago, the city’s startup community is loath to acknowledge it publicly or privately. Indeed, talk with regional entrepreneurs and investors and two things quickly become clear: they say they still believe in Groupon; they also think no matter what happens to the company, their fortunes will not be tied to it.

Some lessons learned as an entrepreneur and VC

– 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. –

Note: Google was kind enough to invite me to give a short talk at their Zeitgeist conference earlier this week. It was a really interesting conference and I got a chance to meet a lot of people I admire. For my talk, I decided to use material from some of my blog posts over the years that I thought might appeal to a broader audience. Unfortunately, I was still recovering from a nasty cold/flu so I didn’t deliver the talk as well as I’d like. Below is the text.

Today, I wanted to talk about some of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years from my experiences as an investor and entrepreneur.

Startups run the gamut from the sublime to the mundane

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

Investors navigated the halls. Luminaries such as LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and SoftTech’s Jeff Clavier took the stage.

Demo Fall 2011 was in full swing yesterday. What stood out at the tech conference was an eclectic assortment of startups that varied from the sublime to the silly. Several of the most appealing enterprise-focused companies seemed poised to attract considerable interest. Several developing consumer technologies did not.

How much money do I need for my 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. –

It’s an obvious question. And if you’re looking for startup investors you’d better be able to answer it well, and quickly too. No wandering eyes. No doubt. If you’re doing a pitch, have a slide for it. And be specific.

I liked this from Ben Yoskovitz’s Instigator Blog on Use of Funds:

… most descriptions of “use of funds” are incredibly generic and standard, typically involving the following: hire key personnel, product development, sales & marketing. Hhhm…the phrase, “No s!@# Sherlock…” comes to mind.

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.

Angels vs VCs on business pitches

– 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. –

Recently I caught Business Insider’s “Five VCs Explain What They REALLY Think About Your Pitches“. It’s a great post, gathering points together from discussions with several high-end venture capitalists. If you’re looking at venture capital, read it.

Part of what they said reminded me that angel investors and VCs have a lot in common. For example, these important points:

The 100 most influential VCs and angels

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

Any list of the 100 most influential venture capitalists and angels should include the likes of John Doerr, Ron Conway and Michael Moritz, right?

Not necessarily. And not if the list you’re referring to is the “100 Most Influential VCs, Angels and Investors” compiled by Lucy Marcus, the Huffington Post columnist and the non-executive board chair of the Mobius Life Science Fund.

It’s not a bubble, people; It’s a pyramid scheme

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared on PE Hub. The views expressed are her own. –

Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about bubbles, having profited handsomely from an earlier Internet boom. But ask him if we’re seeing Bubble 2.0 and he’ll give you a different theory.

“It’s almost the 2011 version of a private equity chain letter,” said Cuban, who sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo in 1999 for $5.7 billion and went on to buy the the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

Venture capitalists are not your friends

– Steve Blank is a teacher, writer, and 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 on www.steveblank.com. The views expressed are his own. –

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not understanding the relationship they have with their investors. At times they confuse venture capitalist’s with their friends.

At Rocket Science our video game company was struggling. Hubris, bad CEO decisions (mine) and a fundamental lack of understanding that we were in a “hits-based” entertainment business not in a Silicon Valley technology company were slowly killing us.

from The Great Debate:

Venture capital harms your wealth

knobel-- Lance Knobel is a guest columnist. The views expressed are his own. He is an independent strategy advisor and writer based in the United States. His professional site is www.lknobel.com --

The promise was certainly seductive: Lock up your money with me for five years and I'll give you double-digit annual returns.

For years, that was an accurate equation for venture capital. From 1981 to 1998, there were ups and downs, but the 10-year return generally hovered around 20 percent, well above most other asset classes. That return came at a price of course. It was illiquid and there was no secondary market. And there was a further catch. Most potential investors were excluded: Venture funds were relatively modest in size, there weren't very many of them and they were picky about whose money they'd take.

  •