Elements of a Strong Business Plan | General Catalyst Partners Napkin Think Force yourself to summarize your idea on the back of a cocktail napkin. Don’t submit your plan until you have this level of clarity. Team Who will occupy the leadership roles in your company, why are they the best players for the task at hand, and how will they go about building an agile, customer-focused culture? If you believe that an advisory board or governing board will help you grow your dream team, we may be able to help you find the right people. Pain What problem are you trying to solve? Solution Why is your solution superior to competitors, who are the key competitors, what differentiator will propel your solution to break through and achieve broad adoption? Customer Acquisition Too many early stage businesses fail to fully explain their methods and costs of acquiring customers. Business Model Show us the near and long-term value of a customer, how you earn revenue, and your growth projections over at least a three-year period. Capital Efficiency Financials Final Answer? Words
Venture Hacks - Good advice for startups. Best practices for raising a VC round 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. 1. Valuation: Come up with what minimum valuation you’d be happy with but never share that number with any investor. If the number is too low, you’ve set a low ceiling. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
4 essential ways to attract investors (Editor’s note: Doug Collom is vice dean and an adjunct lecturer on venture capital and entrepreneurship for Wharton | San Francisco. He submitted this story to VentureBeat.) There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula that can be followed for optimizing the chances of attracting professional investment. Each company is different and faces challenges and issues that can be overcome only through creativity, perseverance and resolve.There are, however, some elements that are so basic they cannot be ignored. Most institutional venture investors either expressly or intuitively address these requirements whenever they evaluate a business plan for a potential investment. Is it a company or is it a product? The mobile application market is a good example of a product category that, in general, doesn’t offer a sufficient foundation to support a company. How big does the market have to be to attract investment? Is prior management-level experience required?
Motivating Virality in Facebook Games Motivating Virality in Facebook Games [Editor's note: Brenda Brathwaite is a game designer with over 20 years of experience and credits on classic titles like Jagged Alliance and the Wizardry series. She is currently creative director at social game developer LOLapps, and a regular Inside Social Games contributor.] Getting players to post to the viral channel is a challenge every game designer faces when he or she is making Facebook games. It’s known that players are most likely to post when they’ve just started a game, but what motivates returning players? Four things: It helps me. Does this mean we should only include virals which fit the above themes? In fact, there is a whole class of player for whom “playing the feeds” has become a pleasant meta-game to the game it supports. Ultimately, your only defense against subpar virals is playing your own game. Sponsored Post Hands-On Social Media Training for Beginners
The Top 10 VC Firms, According To InvestorRank Any seasoned investor knows that past performance is not indicative of future returns. That is as true with public stocks as it is with venture capital firms. But if someone were to ask you to rank the top VC firms today based on their probability of success, how would you do it? Chris Farmer, a VC at General Catalyst Partners, has come up with a method which he calls InvestorRank. The more that a VC firm invests in syndicates with other highly ranked firms or even before they do, the higher its InvestorRank. Today at TC Disrupt NYC, Farmer revealed the top 10 VC firms based on InvestorRank. Andreessen HorowitzSequoia CapitalAccelBenchmark CapitalUnion Square VenturesGeneral Catalyst PartnersNEAKleiner PerkinsKhosla VenturesGreylock What is interesting about this ranking is that not only is Andreessen Horowitz on top (a relatively new firm), but that Kleiner, perhaps the most storied VC firm of all, is near the bottom.
What To Look For In A Company Board At any company level, the board of directors has a direct impact on the organization’s product strategy, hiring, fundraising and much more. And startups have to be very selective in choosing board members who will advise the company in the right direction. In the big company realm, both the media and the company’s shareholders have questioned Yahoo’s board, which continues to employ a floundering Carol Bartz as CEO and supports a bizarre product and business strategy. Then you look at Facebook, where founder Mark Zuckerberg has strategically assembled an all-star board to help the company grow as a public company and expand into new directions. As we saw with HP, even huge, established companies need to make changes in board structure as a company’s strategy shifts. The fact is that the board plays an extremely important role in some of the major events for any company with shareholders. Clavier says that board member roles have become more proactive. Photo Credit/Flickr/Gibffe
365 Days, $10 Million, 3 Rounds, 2 Companies, All With 5 Magic Slides Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Socialcast founder Tim Young detailing how he raised 3 rounds totaling $10M in VC money in a year’s time with a 5-slide deck. This was originally published at “Knowledge Is Social.” “I have a short five-slide deck to share that provides a solid framework for understanding our business.” Since moving to San Francisco a little over a year ago, I have spent every day helping to build Socialcast and about.me. Stop using the projector for initial meetings Most of my initial venture partner meetings ended up in a conference room. Understanding an investor’s perspective Every venture partner has his or her own ideal approach to learning about your business. The initial slide deck Usually, an initial meeting lasts 30 minutes to 1 hour. “I have a short five-slide deck to share that provides a solid framework for understanding our business.” Opening with this simple statement frames your presentation in the mind of the investor. Slide 1: Company Snapshot