Why you need to talk to corporate development

Paul Graham, co-founder of YCombinator, is a smart dude. Founders rightfully listen to what he has to say. One of his many pearls of wisdom is that founders should NOT talk to corporate development groups. Having spent the last 3 days in SF doing pretty much nothing but talking to corp dev groups, all I can say is Paul is wrong. Here’s why:

First, the vast majority of exits happen through acquisition. Less than 10% of exits are from companies going public.  Continue reading Why you need to talk to corporate development

When should you get on the VC train?


I think we can all agree that the startup industry pays too much attention to VC. Our conferences, press, and tweets are dominated by VC-related news. Which fund just raised more capital? Who got funded? Who’s the latest unicorn? I contribute to that fixation in this blog all the time. 

With the rise of accelerators, the holy grail for young startups these days seems to be to get into YC as early as possible and then go on to immediately raise from VCs post demo day. 

There are certainly some massive successes that have followed this hype-laden path: Airbnb, Dropbox and Gusto are some of the biggest winners that come to mind. Closer to home, YC grad Vidyard is crushing it. But they passed on the hype in the Valley. They came back to Canada and took their time. Continue reading When should you get on the VC train?

Stripe’s funding: Go big or go home!

I was just reading about Stripe‘s $ 80M investment today (full disclosure: Stripe is a partner of FreshBooks where I work. And we love them…). They raised $ 80M at a $ 1.75B pre-money valuation. So, what am I thinking about this?

  • YCombinator has yet another company in the $B club
  • Payments is super hot right now. Braintree was recently bought for $ 800M. The business of moving money around has never been hotter.
  • Stripe has no choice now but to go for a unicorn size outcome. More on this point:

Continue reading Stripe’s funding: Go big or go home!

The role of Canada’s Startup Accelerators

The National Post published two articles (here and here) this week questioning the role / impact of Canada’s startup accelerator programs. In the first article The Post asks “Is Canada’s Accelerator Model Broken?”. In the next it goes on to say that “accelerators are failing to produce the next Hootsuite or Shopify“.

Having been deeply involved in FounderFuel, one of Canada’s leading accelerator programs, I’ve got some thoughts on this.

Continue reading The role of Canada’s Startup Accelerators