Investment Stages & Milestones

What the greatest technology investors say about Investment Stages & Milestones

Pivoting is One of the Most Critical Challenges

Kent Goldman Partner First Round Capital

“Pivoting is one of the most critical challenges a business can face. [] [Pivoting is] what you do when you’ve built everything according to plan and yet, the business and users aren’t materializing according to plan.[]

Pivoting is a good thing. It is the outcome of learning about your business and adjusting. The best run start-ups do this every day but they do it a little bit at a time. [] [They see smaller pivots] so often, they rarely realize that they are pivoting. Instead, they are simply operating.  It’s the more dramatic pivots which are more challenging, require greater commitment and longer runway.

[] Knowing when to pivot starts with knowing the milestones []. [We] believe the purpose of a seed stage investment is to prove / disprove / refine a thesis so we always work with [] founders to outline the milestones they want to achieve with their financing. This is a living document [not to be considered as] absolutes and deadlines, but [] provides markers against the original assumptions. As the progress against the milestones occurs, we look to understand both what is / what is not working and why[, revisit original] assumptions and ask what [was] learned. Together with the founders we ask, “Knowing what we know now, what would we do differently?” and “What can we do with the cash we have left?”

[] It’s critical to make a pivot when you still have runway [].  [] Plan your pivot with enough time to show genuine progress against [] new milestones.” Kent Goldman  This Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out, March 1, 2010