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The Startup Copycat Fallacy

What? Another d2c gourmet pet food company? Another full-stack short-termrentals startup? Another affinity-based co-working space? It seems as though in many categories, especially in consumer internet space, a handful of startups pursuing quite similar or even apparently identical ideas launch within months of each other. What’s going on with these apparent copycat companies? Are the barriers to entry so low and information disseminating […]


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Should Every Company Have a “Singles” or “Prime” Day?

Yesterday was Singles Day in China, celebrated on 11/11 each year and theoretically to honor young adults who are not in relationships. In practice it is essentially an invention by retailer Alibaba who holds massive online sales on this day across their platform (Taobao, Tmall, etc). Alibaba reported over $30B in GMV yesterday across its platform of […]


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What’s the difference between “No” vs. “Not Yet” from a VC?

Almost seven years ago, I wrote a post about the difference between a “no” answer and a “no yet” when pitching early-stage VCs. This was back in January 2012, a simpler time… when there was only one kind of seed round, when Series A firms invested pre-revenue, etc. No, this is not some waxing nostalgic post. But […]


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Nobody Announces Their Seed Round Anymore and That’s a Mistake

Five years ago, as the mania around seed fundings was accelerating, Founders were very eager to announce their seed round to the world. It marks the beginning of the journey with hard work & the real business success to be accomplished ahead, but a milestone nonetheless. And seed VCs, especially as new firms were being […]


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OG Unicorns — Where Are They Now?

  It’s almost exactly 5 years since Aileen Lee first coined the term “unicorn” in reference to startups with $1 billion+ valuations. I was wondering what ever ultimately happened to that group of OG unicorns, so I looked back at her original post in TechCrunch from November 2013. To analyze what’s become of the OG Unicorns, it’s […]


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Rethinking the Standard Fundraising Deck

I see hundreds of fundraising decks each year. I’ve been doing this for eight years now, so I’ve been able to see some longitudinal trends during that time. There are a couple trends that I have noticed emerge over the last few years that I think have become industry standard. The problem is that I […]


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If CAC is the New Rent, How should You Operate Differently?

Five to ten years ago, it was thought that digitally-native brands and e-commerce retailers had a distinct cost advantage because they didn’t have to pay for legacy physical infrastructure (e.g. storefronts with long-term lease commitments), which represents high fixed costs and reduced margin. Now in 2018, I believe that digitally-native brands should actually develop a holistic […]


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VC’s Doing the Work to Build Investment Conviction

  I once had a VC mentor (only) half tongue-in-cheek tell me that “all investment diligence is merely an exercise in confirming what you have already decided during the initial pitch.” Diligence validates your gut to invest or (hopefully quickly) kills an opportunity that sounded reasonable but you just didn’t like. I’ve come to believe […]


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Meet Our Newest Investment: Properly

A home is arguably the most important asset both financially and emotionally for a family. As a result, the unnecessarily complex and manual process one experiences today with traditional real estate brokers and agents can cause selling that home to be an emotional and stressful experience. Today, it takes an average of 72 days to […]