2012 was probably my quietest year on the blogging front with only 44 posts. Turns out being a VC is more time consuming and demanding than I ever imagined. All good. Still, since this is the first post of the new year, like always, I am beginning by  looking back.

Without further ado, I have pulled the key insights or messages from each of those posts into a tweetable takeaway. Enjoy..

Getting Funded

Don’t let VC meetings “happen” to you. Conduct them and take charge to make sure you get the next meeting

Know what it takes to raise Series A funding. Manage seed cash to achieve the needed milestones

Do you want investors (ie just money) or do you want partners to help you grow? Know before you raise

VC cheque sizes are getting smaller. It takes more investors to raise a round these days

Assume you will make mistakes. Lots of them. Give yourself the time and money needed to screw up

Most businesses are not right for VC. Know what they look for before you approach them

Have all key documents organized and ready before you approach investors

Don’t go venture fairs or conferences to meet potential investors

Choose a capital source that is aligned with your long term goal for your business

It’s possible to keep legal costs low. Just follow these steps

Team, Vision and Traction – the holy grail of getting funded

Mentorship, networks, access to capital. Use these criteria to choose the right accelerator

 

VC Industry Thoughts

The future of VC is adding real, measurable value to the portfolio every day. It’s not about board meetings, it’s about operations

The Canadian VC industry is in great shape right now. More funds, investments and exits than ever  

 

Growing Big

It’s not competition (or lack of it) that matters. It’s how much better you are than alternatives

Understand how customers make purchase decisions in order to close more sales faster

Choose mentors who make you better at what you are already best at. Maximize your strengths

In today’s hot talent market, employee benefits are more important than ever. Invest in them

It’s so easy to start something. It’s much harder to keep at it and go all the way. Stay focused

In most cases, white labeling does not make sense for startups

Treat all advice as “inputs”. Process them and make your own decisions. You should know what’s best

To keep your best team members focus on alignment and opportunity cost. Give them a role that fulfills them deeply

Some of Canada’s biggest startups began as services businesses. A great way to understand customer needs and fund early development

Customer churn is not the same as revenue churn. Measure both to get a handle on why customers leave

Only use part time execs to fill non core roles like finance

Learn from Yammer. Get forgiveness not permission from the IT department

It makes no sense to *not* spend on marketing. Unless you don’t want to grow

Fancy titles for early stage startups are silly. Choose functions over titles

You cannot save your way to greatness. Invest to build the growth and momentum needed to secure additional capital

 

Productivity

Don’t schedule yourself out too far in advance. Maintain maximum schedule flexibility since priorities change

It is a biological fact that sustained, long term stress is harmful to us. If we are always on, we will inevitably drain ourselves

Do fewer things, but do them all the way

 

Exiting

Startups are sold not bought. Build your exit strategy just as you build your product strategy

 

 

Category:
startup