The VC Minute

Quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

VC Minute is meant to be listened to sequentially. You can hear the latest episode below. 

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111. Messaging Market Fit

Messaging market fit is making sure that the right people are hearing your message, but that it also fits with their beliefs and what they want to hear.

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102. Founder Intros

A venture fund’s most trusted source for referrals is its portfolio. Stand out from the crowd by getting an introduction through a fellow founder.

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092. Fundraising Is Hard

Dama, the CEO of our portfolio company Manatee, pulled a fundraising rabbit out of her hat. She shares her fundraising advice this week… and it’s good!

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083. Greater Fool Theory

In a world of information asymmetry, your current investors have the most information. And if they’re not willing to step up, that is a very bad sign.

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079. The Aha Moment

The best pitches create Aha Moments You’ll know when you’ve hit it because the tone of the meeting changes. It becomes a true dialogue,, the questions come from a place of curiosity, or it turns into a brainstorming session.

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078. Know Your Numbers

As the CEO of this business, you are going to be responsible ultimately for every aspect of it. Show that you know your numbers and it shows that you know your business.

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070. The Right Reason To Fundraise

When you’re talking about the reasons why you’re fundraising. I want to be sure that you have the right reasons. The wrong reasons to fundraise are to make hires, to extend your runway and to get to a Series A.

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066. Negative Signaling

If you keep going back to the same investors with the same story and without significant progress, it’s a negative signal. You need to cross those investors off of your list.

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062. Sacred Cows

What is the thing that you are so desperately clinging to? Is it relevant? And is it going to help your business get through these next few turbulent weeks and then through the next trying months? Find those sacred cows and banish them.

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061. Acknowledge Your Reality

Regardless of your situation, the startup world fundamentally changed on Friday. I have two pieces of advice for you. The first is: acknowledge your reality.

“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end ‚ÄĒ which you can never afford to lose ‚ÄĒ with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” – James Stockdale

Whatever your reality is, own it.

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060. Self-Compassion

I saved the best for last and it’s possibly the hardest. The number one thing you can do for yourself is practice self-compassion.

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059. Sleep

Lack of good deep sleep impacts your physical health, your mental health, your mental acuity, and even your reaction times. To keep your productivity high and your mental health strong, create a sleep routine and get good sleep.

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058. Find a Therapist

While I’ve spent the last week and a half talking to you about tips and tricks for mental health, I’m not a trained professional, but I know the benefit of having one. I strongly encourage all founders to find a great therapist.

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057. Spend Time on Yourself

When was the last time that you gave yourself permission to spend time on yourself? It’s not enough to just spend time doing something that you want– to take a break one night and then fret all about the things that you could be doing or should be doing. This is completely counterproductive. Giving yourself permission is the critical part of this.

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056. Chronotype & Know Thyself

There are some inputs in your life that you can control such as food, drink and exercise. And there are some things that you can’t control, like your chronotype. And if you fight against this, you’re just going to make yourself tired and miserable.

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055. Ask For Help

Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Asking for help is important for everyone, doubly so for founders. We live in a society that values independence and self-sufficiency so many of us still struggle to ask for help, especially for our most vexing problems.

I’m here to tell you that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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053. GSD Day

It’s apropos that I’m releasing this episode today because Wednesdays are my GSD days. My Get Shit Done day. Taking time boxing to its logical extreme is the GSD day. No scheduled meetings are allowed on GSD days. None.

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052.  Timeboxing

Kicking off a focus on founder mental health, my first suggestion is Timebox. You’ll hear me say this all the time: time is our most precious asset. Maybe a corollary to that is focus. I found that I can create focus by time boxing.

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051.  Kicking Off Season 2

Kicking off VC Minute Season 2 with a quick update on the market and ready to roll with advice from guests as well as yours truly.

Thank you for your patience. It will be worth the wait!

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050.  VC Validation

If you’re struggling to raise venture capital, take heart. It does not invalidate your business. If you truly want to build this business, then you must focus on creating value for your customers. That is what matters.

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049.  Learn From Every Pitch

The vast majority of investors you pitch will pass, so use the time to ask for input & feedback. Ironically, it reflects better on you to ask questions than just pitch the whole time.

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046.  Sell The Vision

My friend Eric Marcoullier, multiple-exit founder, coaches startup CEOs now, has a great post that I riff on today: A CEO Has Three Responsibilities. I’d argue the CEO has only one.

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044. Dribs & Drabs

Another fundraising red flag is the “dribs and drabs” round. With this, you don’t know if you’ll have enough capital to make those key hires or fully execute your growth plan, so your growth suffers.

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043. That Aspen Money

The massive returns needed to succeed in venture capital is one of the key drivers of the TAM obsession. Bigger markets offer bigger opportunities for growth and bigger exits. Or at least, that’s the commonly held belief.

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041. Too Risky

We invest in risky businesses, which means that we feel we’ve got a good grasp on the odds of different types of outcomes, including a zero return outcome. When we hit on uncertainty, that’s when it becomes hard to get to a yes, because uncertainty is where we’re unable to assess the risk.

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040. Series A in 6 Months

I asked my teammates for their least favorite thing to hear from startups and it’s, “six months after this seed round, we’re going to raise a Series A.”

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037. Bridge Round

If you call your funding round a “Bridge Round” it puts you in a defensive position. Listen to today’s #VCMinute for what you should say instead.

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035. Back to the Pool Party

Happy Friday, everybody. It’s a Friday in July, and do you know, what’s the perfect thing for a hot summer day? A pool party! All the reasons investors say “no” can wash away when the pool party is packed.

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034. The Hard Truth

There’s a big reason that funds pass or ghost on investments, but they would never share it with founders. It’s entirely subjective and often just based off gut instincts.

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033. Venture Scale Returns

Another common reason venture funds say “no” is because they don’t see a path to returning the entire fund from that one investment. Wondering what that means? Here’s more…

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032. Too Early

When you’re talking to an investor that writes checks at your level, and they’re telling you that you’re too early, here’s the real problem: you haven’t sold them on your vision.

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030. Just Send the Deck

Wrapping up the week with great advice from @sabakarimm – don’t email people asking if you can send them the deck, just send them the deck. That’s the purpose of it. Send it!

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028. Two Decks

Pitching is storytelling, and decks are a tool to tell the story. The email deck gets to meeting, the pitch deck gets the investment.

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026. The Deck Gets The Meeting

The point of your pitch deck isn’t to get an investment. The point is to get a meeting.

It’s just like when you’re job hunting. The point of a resume isn’t to get the job. The point of the resume is to get the interview. The pitch deck is serving the same purpose.

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025. Don’t Email Everyone in the Firm

Bonus content: If you’re reaching out to a small fund, don’t email, every single person in the fund.

Time is our most precious asset; I’m grateful that you’d spend of some of yours with me. Thank you.

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023. Updating Investors

As you meet with potential investors, your goal with the first meeting isn’t to close the deal. It’s for both you and the investor to get data points on each other.

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020. Oversubscribed

There are three types of mythical creatures: big foot, aliens, and a funding round not described as oversubscribed. It’s funny because it’s true. But it’s true because it works.

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018. Runway

When you set out to raise a round of capital, you’ll get asked about your runway. This is important because fundraising is a waste of your time. ūüėĀ

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017. Here, There, Capital

Founders part of your job in a pitch is to convince potential investors that you will get to the next level on the treadmill. And to do that, you need to three things: Here, There and Capital.

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