Both Sides of the Table - Medium


 

Many board meetings are bored meetings.

Some boards are highly functional, many are not.

advance board board meeting board member financial hour investors Meeting productive topic

 

What Do Boards Actually Do? [0.09]

Posted on Aug. 15, 2017, 4:47 a.m. by Both Sides of the Table - Medium @ [source]

What Do Boards Actually Do?

The image of boards and of investors vs. founder conflicts has been so at odds with my experiences on dozens of boards over the past 20 years that I thought it was worth sharing what I actually see.

board CEO conflict executive founder interest investor involved member shareholders

 

What Does it Mean to be American? [0.16]

Posted on July 17, 2017, 10:12 p.m. by Both Sides of the Table - Medium @ [source]

What Does it Mean to be American?

What Does it Mean to be American?

America American born father immigrant issue Muslim population South Trump

 

I Only Have 7 Trips Left.

So for the past 7 years we have ramped up the amount of sibling, cousin, grandparent, extended family time we could and we have loved every minute of this.

balance children love Remember son spent trip vacation wife years

 

I am so proud and humbled to be able to formally announce that Upfront Ventures has raised its 6th venture capital fund in the past 21 years.

We built a brand that we thought would represent our values - who and what we are in a way that would hold us accountable.

capital companies firms fund La stage team upfront VC venture

 

Fresno State students receive supplies for school with help from Renaissance Scholars staff John Hunt, Jr. (left) and Kizzy Lopez (right).

So my wife sprung into action and contacted our nearest university, UCLA, to see whether they had a need for “dorm move-in kits” for incoming students who had no parents or support system.

children college donate foster care love students system Tania video wife

 

 

Should Startups Care About Profitability?

Venture capital isn’t right for many business but if you do want to raise from a VC at some point you need to understand that often investors care more about growth than profits.

companies fund growth product profitability profits revenue sale startup team

 

I am wired to discount people who have total assuredness in their point-of-view, have dogmatic positions or use data as a crutch or substitute for logic. I appreciate people who have strong opinions or conviction but expect them to constantly be testing their opinions and refining their approaches as they encounter new people, facts or logic.

basic conviction document facts fallacy knew logic narrative opinions told

 

I’ve been involved with several startups where a giant incumbent attacks you and tries to sue you out of existence.

Yesterday a company that Upfront backed since its earliest days, Ring, announced that it won’t be bullied by the industry giant ADT who has filed a baseless lawsuit against the company to try and impede our progress.

ADT employee families afford fear feel hard local product raise ring

 

When you run a startup you’re always on borrowed time.

It’s why raising a round of capital often feels like a hollow victory because it almost feels like a temporary reprieve from the Grim Reaper and in a way every new round just sets the bar higher to clear for the next round of financing or the hope of reaching profitability.

deals existing firm founder fund investors Partners person raising Ultimate

 

Just over a year ago I wrote about how MakeSpace had raised $17.5 million in capital to build out it’s operations in 4 cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C. I pointed out that the storage market in the US alone is ~$30 billion / year and there is no dominate provider — the largest player has < 10% market share.

books cities consumer inventory logistics market provider software storage warehouse

 

The modern world is filled with constant distractions.

I think of activities as a funnel.

activity business engage focus funnel in Meeting results talk things

 

Recently Upfront Ventures published its outlook for the technology startup world and venture capital overall. This was driven by the influx of corporate VCs, foreign VC money, sovereign wealth funds and the new war chests of VCs who raised new funds in the past 18 months.

ago drops funds happened inauguration titled Trump VC winter WTF

 

Every year Upfront Ventures surveys Limited Partners (LPs) who are the main source of capital that invests in VC funds and thus the main source of capital that goes to startups to get an early-warning sense of the year ahead, leaving aside any Black Swans.

LPs have moved beyond their strict belief that there is “the best and the rest” and now acknowledge that some of the best performers in the past decade have been what a decade ago were emerging managers (or non-existent) such as First Round Capital, Union Square Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Foundry Group, Spark Capital, IA Ventures, Founder Collective and many others.

fund industry investing LPs seed Silicon started Valley VC venture

 

The Snap IPO Happened. What Next LA?

Angeles cities city Garcetti helped innovation La Los mayor outlined

 

There are so many moments from the Upfront Summit that I want to share with you — it just takes time to watch through all the videos, do write ups and still do my day job.

One of the most exciting thinkers at Summit was Rebecca Kantar, the founder of Imbellus.

ambitious crazy excited hear perform smart stage talented Telling

 

It’s easy to find yourself caught in the trap of just GSD (getting shit done) and not stepping back to be thoughtful about whether you’d benefit from doing fewer things but doing those things truly well.

It’s the parable of the tree-chopping team that is so focused on efficiency of how fast it can fell a tree that it doesn’t bother to make sure it is clearing the forest in the right direction when one person actually stops the constant cutting to climb a tree and make sure they’re cutting in the right direction.

activities clear deals efficiency marketing objectives surface tasked team things

 

Union Square Ventures (USV) has been one of the most successful venture capital firms of the past 10–15 years and continues to be a leader in our industry. Lindel is heading Foundry Group Next, which is a Foundry Group fund that invests in both venture capital funds as well as directly in startups at later stages in their cycles than Foundry Group’s core fund would typically do.

capital firm Foundry Fred fund Lindel LP partner USV venture

 

In a Red State.

One of the most talked about Fireside Chat’s of the 2-day Upfront Summit was the talk between my friend Joe Green and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana aka “The Happy Warrior” currently in a bid to become the new head of the DNC (you can learn more here).

America argued Bernie Buttigieg Jobs Joe nation Parker Pete Sean