BLOG STARTUPS, VENTURE AND THE TECH BUSINESS

October 23 2009
by John Backus

Executive Compensation

Today I turn the blog over to Walt Shill, a CEO of one of our portfolio companies many years ago, and now a very senior executive at Accenture.  I love the way Walt thinks and writes – and post this below with his permission.  The topic is executive compensation, but at the end he has […]

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October 23 2009
by Todd Hixon

Players, Stayers, and Payers

Last month, Intuit, the leader in personal finance software, announced it would acquire Mint.com for $170m (5.3x paid-in capital two years after first funding).  High fives all around! Mint offers a unique, far-easier way for consumers to organize personal finances and budgets on the web, bringing in information from numerous accounts.  People adopted it and […]

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October 20 2009
by Thanasis Delistathis

Opportunity knocks: Yellow Pages move online

A number of industries are undergoing a kind of dislocation as the internet becomes a dominant medium for finding information and entertainment. One of those industries is the yellow pages industry. It is currently a $26BN global industry; $14BN in the US. The Kelsey Group projects that the portion of that market that is online […]

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October 16 2009
by Scott Johnson

Well Spaced Bread Crumbs

In the story of Hansel and Gretel, Hansel drops breadcrumbs as he is carted away with Gretel, leaving a trail to follow for any would-be rescuer. This was a good strategy except that bread crumbs are edible. But that is aside from the point of this post, which is that investors need an easy trail […]

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September 30 2009
by Scott Johnson

Make your customers surly?

My partner Todd Hixon relates a story about when he was a young analyst meeting with a crusty old telco exec to talk about pricing, and was told that they wanted to price so their customers were “surly, but not rebellious.” “How hilariously old school” you are thinking.  “Isn’t Steve Jobs’ ability to delight his […]

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September 21 2009
by Scott Johnson

“Tranched” Investments

We occasionally do investments in stages or “tranches” where we put an initial amount of money into a company, with the option to put more in later when certain milestones are met.  Some investors like to do this, and some are philosophically opposed.  The opposing view is that contingent cash based on uncertain milestones adds […]

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September 15 2009
by Todd Hixon

Tips For A Good First Pitch

You are setting out to raise the first financing round for your start-up business.  You sit down to draft a pitch.  What should it say?  [We’re early stage investors, so these ideas are geared to the companies we see, which are typically raising their first round of investment from professional (“institutional”) investors.] Let’s start with […]

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September 11 2009
by Thanasis Delistathis

In search of the next “Rocket Ship”

How long does it take promising young startups with large potential markets to scale to $50MM?  Longer than you might think if you looked at the projections of the average startup that comes through our door. An article in the Wall Street Journal Blogs online discusses how long it took many well known public companies […]

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September 1 2009
by Scott Johnson

The Ad Dollar Tug-of-War

The often sited truth in advertising states that half of all ad dollars are wasted, but you can never tell which half.  Well, that is changing, and everyone is excited about all of those ad dollars moving to measurable media instead of being flushed down the wasteful “old media” toilet.  But what if, instead of […]

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August 31 2009
by Scott Johnson

The imperfect VC process

Picking companies to invest in is not that different from running the admissions process at Princeton.  The likelihood is high that you will admit some problem students and deny admission to the next Michael Dell.  This is how the process was described to me by an unnamed college admissions professional: There is a set of […]

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