Fundraising

What the greatest technology investors say about Fundraising

Early Stage Technology Investments Come Down to 4 'M's'

Mark Suster Partner Upfront Ventures and former entrepreneur

“[] [Almost] all VC investments in early stage technology & Internet investments come down to just four key factors []: management, market, money [i.e., valuation] and above all else momentum [i.e., mostly product momentum]. 

[] The number one thing that investors get their checkbooks out [for is] momentum.  [Momentum has various definitions]:  user numbers, revenue, channel partners, biz dev deals, [etc.]. 

[] [Suster’s investment decision is based] 70% [on] management, 30% [on] product. 

[] [Almost] all VCs care about investing in big markets with ambitious teams.

[] Most VCs want to own between 20-25% minimum of [a] company. [] [Investors need to] own enough [equity] to make it worth their time – thus “money”. And all of this is wrapped up in forward progress that [entrepreneurs] demonstrate over time.”   Mark Suster, The Four Main Things that Investors Look for in a Startup,  October 6, 2010

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/10/06/the-four-main-things-that-investors-look-for-in-a-startup/

How to Understand & Predict New Markets

Chris Dixon General Partner Andreessen Horowitz, angel investor and former entrepreneur

“[VCs] are obsessed with market size [seeking a billion dollar + market]. []  (Smaller, venture-style investors like angels and seed funds also prioritize market size but are usually more flexible – they’ll often invest when the market is “only” ~$100M).  [] VC returns tend to be driven by a few big hits in big markets.

For early-stage companies, you should never rely on quantitative analysis to estimate market size. Venture-style startups are bets on broad, secular trends. Good VCs understand this. []

The only way to understand and predict large new markets is through narratives. Some popular current narratives include: [] social link sharing is becoming an increasingly significant source of website traffic and somehow will be monetized; mobile devices are becoming powerful enough to replace laptops for most tasks and will unleash a flood of new applications and business models.

As an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t raise VC unless you truly believe a narrative where your company is a billion dollar business.”  Chris Dixon, Size markets using narratives, not numbers, April 3, 2010;  http://cdixon.org/2010/04/03/size-markets-using-narratives-not-numbers/

What Ron Conway Looks For in a Deal

Ron Conway angel investor

What Ron Conway looks for in a deal: “[] traits that good investors look for in entrepreneurs []”:

[] personal chemistry with the entrepreneur 

[] great idea

[] solving a practical and real problem

[] sectors that [grow] at thousands of percent a year

[] good elevator pitch – [ability to articulate what the company wants to do] in 5 words 

[] IP (intellectual property) [] matter[s]

[] [team’s] personal characteristics including [intangibles like passion, vision, body language, being decisive, reliable] ]

[] hire ahead of [the] needs [if possible []]

[] CEO [] [must set the example as a team builder and leader] []”.

Ron Conway, Startupatwork Interview Ron Conway: What Ron Looks For In A Deal, StartupAtWork  Feb 20, 2010; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hksBO57gfaw

Do Whatever is Required to get to Product/Market Fit

Marc Andreessen Co-Founder and General Partner Andreessen Horowitz, investor and Co- Founder Netscape

“[Former Benchmark Capital General Partner Andy] Rachleff’s Corollary of Startup Success:  The only thing that matters is getting to product/market fit. Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.

[] Lots of startups fail before product/market fit ever happens.  My contention, in fact, is that they fail because they never get to product/market fit.

[The] life of any startup can be divided into two parts: before product/market fit (call this "BPMF") and after product/market fit ("APMF").

When you are BPMF, focus obsessively on getting to product/market fit.

Do whatever is required to get to product/market fit. Including changing out people, rewriting your product, moving into a different market, telling customers no when you don't want to, telling customers yes when you don't want to, raising that fourth round of highly dilutive venture capital -- whatever is required.

When you get right down to it, you can ignore almost everything else.”  Marc Andreessen, “The Pmarca Guide to Startups, part 4: The only thing that matters, June 25, 2007; http://web.archive.org/web/20070701074943/http://blog.pmarca.com/2007/06/the-pmarca-gu-2.html