Why We Can’t Let Luddites Ruin Global Trade

Why We Can’t Let Luddites Ruin Global Trade

  Luddites. It’s a term most of you know as being somebody who is backward or uninterested in learning new technology. Actually, the Luddites were worse than this. They were a movement in England during the Industrial Revolution who had the objective of ruining machinery that was used to build products at scale. They thought […]

Why Raising Too Much Money Can Harm Your Startup

Why Raising Too Much Money Can Harm Your Startup

Amongst the most often asked questions I get from founders is, “How much money should I raise?”   Reflexively founders want to raise as much money as they can because they figure it will give them more resources, better chances of competing and a longer runways before they have to do the often painful job […]

Why Acceptance of Failure is Critical to Startup Success

Why Acceptance of Failure is Critical to Startup Success

  I talk about failure a lot because I think it can be tremendously instructive and I think that success without failure often masks underlying lessons. I even prefer to fund entrepreneurs who have experience some level of set-backs in their careers or startups because I think it brings a humility to decision-making that I […]

The Corrosive Nature of Over-Introducers

The Corrosive Nature of Over-Introducers

  In modern society we’re all over-worked and over-loaded with information and tasks and to-dos and obligations. Nowhere is this more apparent than working in a startup where you are definitionally under-resourced and trying to make big accomplishments in compressed periods of time. That’s why focus is critical. Saying “no” often to people who want […]

Changes in the Venture Capital Funding Environment

Changes in the Venture Capital Funding Environment

Changes in the Venture Capital Funding Environment The funding environment for tech startups is an ever shifting ground as we go through predictable shifts that go hand-in-hand with the slowing of the overall market. The most important shift I would characterize as the market moving from “high conviction” and thus strong follow-ons to “limited conviction” […]

Half Lives. Social Media. And Snapchat Stories.

Half Lives. Social Media. And Snapchat Stories.

I’ve been online for nearly 30 years (yes, there was CompuServe and Prodigy before the www), blogging for 10 and using social media tools since the earliest days. I love to watch networks evolve, see how crowds gather and communicate and curate and share. Twitter was the most unique social sharing platform that had emerged […]

How I Invest

How I Invest

I was speaking recently to the team at NuOrder, an LA-based company we’re an investor in about “realism in startups” — an impromptu talk I have given to any of our portfolio companies who ask. During the Q&A I was asked about how I make investment decisions in early-stage businesses. I was asked again in an LP […]

Why Solving Big Food & Healthcare Problems Will Yield Spectacular Companies

Why Solving Big Food & Healthcare Problems Will Yield Spectacular Companies

I’ve spoken before about our desire at Upfront Ventures to fund really big ideas that solve hard problems, are science led and if successful will both have a positive effect on people’s lives as well as make great financial returns. We’re not Pollyannaish about this. We believe that it is incrementally harder to differentiate on […]

What is it Like to Wake Up and Have the Press Ready to Torpedo Your Business?

What is it Like to Wake Up and Have the Press Ready to Torpedo Your Business?

In case you missed it, the press yesterday ran several stories questioning the viability of a wireless charging company I invested in called uBeam. Obviously my day turned out very differently than I had anticipated when I woke up, but it wasn’t half as bad as the entire team at uBeam must have felt yesterday. […]

How Would You Build a Movie Studio if You Started Today?

How Would You Build a Movie Studio if You Started Today?

I met Andrew Stalbow and Petri Järvilehto from Seriously several years ago after they had just left Angry Birds where they were responsible for international business development / licensing and the game studio, respectively. They had a new company in mind and they posed a question to me “If Walt Disney were to try and […]

Getting Your Series A Mojo Back

Getting Your Series A Mojo Back

You Need to Find Your Mojo A Chip On Your Shoulder A few years ago I wrote a blog post on entrepreneurs with a chip on their shoulders. I think it’s an important read. A chip on one’s shoulder as in, “Fuck the system, it’s broken and I want to fix it” is exactly the […]

The TACO Challenge

The TACO Challenge

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo. In the US this is often confused with Mexican Independence Day, which is actually September 16th and is called Grito de Dolores. That made some people think of taco bowls and love Hispanics. Whatever. Our portfolio company mitú, the fastest growing digital video company focused on the Latino market in […]

Stuck in the Middle With You

Stuck in the Middle With You

Stuck in the Middle With You Reservoir Dogs … If it’s lost on you Google it It’s safe to say that all eyes globally are on the United States right now with an election that feels more like a script of House of Cards than the sad reality we’re living. There are reasons to be despondent […]