Financing a Startup

July 8, 2009

One of my favorite bloggers is Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital.  He used to write a great column in Fortune Magazine which I miss.  Today he writes about how stupid it is to be funding startups with debt capital.  He is exactly right.

Anyone who has been involved in early-stage companies knows that it is hard enough to get to cash flow breakeven with no debt.  Our government has decided the normal rules don’t apply and have loaned two money-losing companies almost half a billion dollars of our money.  Could someone please explain why?

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Less is More

July 6, 2009

My partner John from back when I was in venture capital used this phrase often.  As far as he was concerned it could be applied to most any circumstance.  And he was right.

In the venture world, we heard a lot of pitches and without exception, less is more when it comes to pitching your business.  The other day I was listening to a senior exec for one of my clients work through the “market” section of his deck—seven slides.  It took him half an hour!  Not that he wasn’t knowledgeable or articulate but he just felt he needed to communicate much more detail than was necessary.

So if you are a natural born talker, either find someone else to give the pitch or discipline yourself to be concise.  Less is more indeed.