The VC Minute

Quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

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113. The Penny Gap

Why is the differentiation between pre-revenue and any revenue at all so important? The answer is from a classic startup post.


112. Do You Invest Pre-Revenue

Ask a VC, “do you invest pre-revenue?” and 90% of them are going to say some version of, “it depends.” Think of revenue as just one throttle. What are the other throttles you have down?


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 — which you can never afford to lose — 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.