When Does Venture Debt Make Sense For Your Startup?

Piggy BankStartup blogger and venture capitalist extraordinaire Fred Wilson recently published a great article on Venture Debt, which I strongly suggest you review HERE. Go ahead, I will wait…

…welcome back. As Fred points out, many entrepreneurs hear the word “debt” and promptly run the other direction. In the past, venture debt was often viewed as a funding vehicle of last resort. When the current investors were tapped out and a bigger fool could not be brought into a venture, all eyes turn towards debt. However, when deployed judiciously, venture debt can mitigate investors’ and founders’ dilution.

At Rincon Venture Partners, we are in the midst of negotiating a term sheet with a cash-positive startup that is growing aggressively. The nature of the company’s business model requires it to fund certain costs before it is paid by its customers. Thus, even though the company is cash flow positive, its growth is constrained by the amount of payables it can fund. Enter venture debt.

By combining our equity investment with a tranche of venture debt, the company has avoided a larger equity round, which would have significantly diluted the Founders’ ownership share. Continue reading “When Does Venture Debt Make Sense For Your Startup?”

Advice For Emerging Entrepreneurs (And Anyone Else With A Boss)

Fat Cat“By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.”
Robert Frost, American Poet

My entrepreneurial students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, often ask my advice regarding their career choices. However, rather than discussing specific opportunities, I find that I often spend most of my time sharing general tips related to their professional success, irrespective of their particular career paths.

Although my advice is geared to recent college graduates, it is also applicable to anyone with a boss, irrespective of their age and experience level.

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Startup Children – How To Parent An Entrepreneur (Part II)

Note: This is part II of a five part series. Access the first installment HERE, part III HERE, part IV HERE, and part V HERE.

In part I of this series, I discussed how you can teach your children to make something from nothing by sharing with them Marcia Brown’s Stone Soup. There are a number of other children’s books that also serve as good platforms from which you can impart entrepreneurial values and lessons.

Sam I AmOne such book comes from a surprising source, the notoriously left-leaning Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. He inadvertently drafted the salesman’s manifesto in the form of Green Eggs and Ham, utilizing 50-different words, 48-of which are one syllable. Not only will your children understand it, it is even accessible by the average salesperson.
Continue reading “Startup Children – How To Parent An Entrepreneur (Part II)”

Startup Children – How To Parent An Entrepreneur (Part I)

Note: This is part I of a five part series. Access the second installment HERE, part III HERE, part IV HERE and part V HERE.

Stone SoupI recently answered the question “What are good ways to raise your children to be entrepreneurs?” on Quora. My response was brief and straightforward, which is common of popular Quora answers (as discussed in How To Write An Effective Quora Answer). Although my answer was off-the-cuff, the question caused me to consider the issue of raising entrepreneurial children in greater depth, which led me to write this series.

I am not a parenting expert and I do not profess to have all the answers. I believe that you cannot teach someone to be an entrepreneur, but that you can teach entrepreneurs. Thus, my goal is to highlight a few books, games and other activities parents can share with their children. If your offspring are entrepreneurially inclined, these activities might nudge them in the direction of a lifetime of startups. If your child is not an entrepreneurial Bank Robber, no worries; the world needs ATM Operators too. Continue reading “Startup Children – How To Parent An Entrepreneur (Part I)”

Interview: Jason Lehmbeck, Co-Founder and CEO of DataPop

Jason LehmbeckMessenger: Jason Lehmbeck, Co-Founder and CEO of DataPop, former VP of Emerging Ad Products at Overture Services and Yahoo!

Value Prop Twitter Style: DataPop simplifies the lives of marketers and gives them the tools they need to build ads that people love to click on

You can watch the video below or on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7G5tCp08sQ

What follows is a summary which paraphrases Jason’s responses. For his exact quotes, watch the video.

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Why You Should Hire A Gaggle Of Interns At Your Startup

The Office Team“If I had to, I could clean out my desk in five minutes… and nobody would ever know I’d ever been here. And I’d forget too.”
Ryan Howard, the fictional Intern on the TV comedy, The Office

Michael Scott, the fictional head of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton office, hires an Intern for all the wrong reasons. Driven by low self-esteem, the hapless Mr. Scott is seeking a junior person who will adore him and act upon his whims.

Unfortunately for Mr. Scott, he hires Ryan, a smart, ambitious and disrespectful young man who is the catalyst of endless subterfuge which further undermines the office’s abysmal corporate culture.  Continue reading “Why You Should Hire A Gaggle Of Interns At Your Startup”

Avoid Getting Grin Screwed By Properly Qualifying Your Prospects

In Don’t Be A Grin F**ker, Mark Suster describes a concept that the two of us have discussed at various Board meetings. Startups often expend significant resources attempting to coax a relationship out of someone who smiles and says all the right things, yet whose inactions are inconsistent with their alleged intentions.

Entrepreneurs who are self aware and have the Whole Package are less prone to being successfully grin screwed. However, even the most enlightened entrepreneur can unknowingly waste valuable time and energy pursuing non-qualified prospects. Thus, developing an ability to identify Grin F☺☺kers is a startup skill worth cultivating. Continue reading “Avoid Getting Grin Screwed By Properly Qualifying Your Prospects”

Interview: Clark Benson, Founder & CEO of Ranker.com

Value Prop Twitter Style: “Ranker is a social site/platform for ranking anything, powered by semantic technology that aggregates opinions into ‘wisdom of crowds’ rankings”

Clark Benson is the Founder and CEO of Ranker.com. Prior to Ranker, Clark founded four other successful companies, including eCrush, which he sold to the Hearst Corporation in 2007.

Ranker helps Internet users find the most appropriate answers to questions that benefit from the wisdom of crowds. It does this by providing simple tools which facilitate crowed sourced lists. Such lists are constantly evaluated and refined by the millions of users who visit Ranker.com each month, resulting in a repository of objective, unbiased consumer rankings.

Ranker Quote

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