Five Things to Remember About Angels

Getting angels to invest in a project can be difficult. They’re risk adverse, conscious of market trends and often work in groups. Yet, these are some of the things that make angel investors so valuable. Typically an angel investment is $25,000 to $100,000 a company, though this can go higher. Read more

Benefits of Syndication

Syndication has numerous benefits. It stimulates angel investment and empowers angel investors to build and maintain a portfolio of investments. It also benefits startups, as it streamlines the funding process for the entrepreneur. The collective group of investors have a higher net worth and a larger network than angels working on their own. They are able to finance startups at earlier stages than most VCs. Syndicates also have a more diversified portfolio and a greater ability to pool resources. These resources include skills, contacts and experts. Due to the nature of syndicate groups, investors can often develop more due diligence.  Read more

HyperAccelerator Cohort #3

Venture Capital Isn’t Actually Like it is on TV

When many of us think about venture capital, Shark Tank may be the first thing that sparks to mind. Here at Rockies Venture Club, we joke about Shark Tank because we know that it’s not an accurate depiction of how venture deals work. Here are some of the reasons why we call it “venturetainment”.  Read more

Top-10 Twitter Action Tips – Don’t Read If You Don’t Get Twitter or Care To

Written by Tom Cross @techtionary

I gave a talk on Twitter at Rockies Venture Club Hyperaccelerator. This is a week-long effort to help startups understand everything they need to do to not fail or at least not fail as fast. I do the Twitter for @rockiesventure which topped 10K (click on image to follow RVC) this week. The reaction from the audience went from skeptical to being annoyed at even the idea. Now I can’t change their hearts and minds about Twitter but maybe, just maybe get them to understand marketing in terms that most of them were male – sports. Coaches of nearly all sports use “playbooks” to guide their team hopefully to victory. There are hundreds of plays like marketing plans, coaches and marketing leaders try as many as they can. Some work though many don’t because the other team (like customers) change their mind, are fickle or just don’t play the way you want them to play. In addition, sports teams like customers change every year or even everyday with new ones being added and old ones retiring changing the game landscape (marketing) in ways no one can understand. One must also realize that any playbook or marketing plan needs to change as often as customers do. In the end, my class was successful from my perspective as like President Trump is doing with Twitter allowing companies to connect directly to their customers and supporters.

easy

not easy

Here is the summary of the slides below –

  • If you still ask “why” Twitter, the answer is both easy and hard.
  • The easy answer is – it is the new way to connect with your customers and provide customer service as they don’t complain by just calling you they increasingly complain via Twitter with the famous hashtag #fail which can go viral.
  • If you think it is just for promoting your corporate blogs and blather, you are likely missing out on how customers really feel about you, this is the hard answer because customers just buy from someone else.

Toms’ Top-10

Use as a guideline but the must-haves are 1-strong thought leadership, 2-stronger calls-to-action and 3-persistent constant delivery.

1 – #1 it is a social network, not a broadcast network, people want to feel listened to not just talked down to.

2 – Write compelling customer-centric “thought leadership” guiding them on ways to improves their lives, not just about your solutions or views.

3 – Write compelling CTA-calls to action to get them to not just listen but act.

4 – Engage-engage and engage more with others not just post your own “selfies” though as often or always add a pic, gif, or video to your post.

5 – Like exercise do it daily and it’s a marathon, not a sprint – no just once and done and certainly not use tools. While stair master can help with exercise, you still have to walk-the-walk yourself.

6 – Lift all boats, helping others helps you.

7 – Cross post on other platforms – realize your customer may be elsewhere.

9 – Integrate all website content and have an overall thoughtful content in all formats and platforms.

9 – Use an EDCAL-editorial calendar to manage and coordinate content over the year.

10 – Remember followers also have followers and so engaged with all.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers or know-it-all. My mom gave me a business card a long time ago and it said, “if you think you know what’s going on, you’re probably full of sh–.” Alas, I do help clients grow their Twitter presence and believe it works it if you work it right like above. Thought leadership, CTA-call-to-action and constant promotion works for Starbucks, McDonald’s and others. Even Google is advertising now as they want to expand their own piece of the swamp.

Here are a few slides from the presentation and click on any for the complete presentation. If you like I will walk you through it or at least answer any question if you email me and we can setup a time to talk on the tele or Skype. I have proven clients and references or if you prefer you can also contact @evankirstel he can help you as well.

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AngelList: Then and Now

What it isangellist-logo

AngelList, a financing platform for startups has experienced tremendous growth since its inception in 2010. Perfect for angel investor syndicates, it allows individual accredited investors to get in on the deals from these groups. It also allows syndicates to co-invest with large venture capital firms. This is revolutionary in the process of funding startups, as it allows regular investors to get a piece of high-valued startups that they otherwise wouldn’t have the funding for.

Growth

AngelList shows some impressive 2015 statistics on its website. There was a whopping $163 million raised through its platform. This was an increase of more than $60 million compared to 2014. The platform had 441 startups, over 3300 individual investors, and 170 active syndicates.

Furthermore, AngelList also acts as a teeming job board for startups and companies, doubling its number of job candidates from 2014 to 250,000 in 2015. It noted that over 16,000 companies used its platform to list job openings.

Great for Startups and Investors

AngelList is a terrific platform for startups because it is free for them to maintain a profile and seek capital. Angel investors have to pay to use it, so often times they will rely on their local angel groups to be on AngelList, and invest through them.

On AngelList deal flow isn’t really a problem. There are so many startups with profile and more joining/applying for funding every day. This gives both angel investors, angel groups, as well as VC firms the chance to constantly filter and search for companies with huge potential.

Funding

AngelList has already received $400 million from one of the largest VC Firms in the world, CSC Venture Capital. For being an early stage startup, this is extremely impressive and shows that many prominent investors believe that AngelList has incredible potential.

What’s Next for AngelList?

AngelList has provided an easier means for startups and investors to find each other. So what is the platform’s next step? Many prominent venture capitalists including those at CSC, believe AngelList could eventually go on to offering company IPOs on its platform. This would truly revolutionize the financing process for companies and is an exciting thing to look out for in the next few years.

 

Sources:

https://angel.co/2015/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/coming-soon-from-china-a-400-million-bonanza-for-u-s-startups-1444622462?mod=trending_now_3

 

 

Social Proof

At the beginning of summer, I was brought on as an AngelList associate intern at Rockies Venture Club. Unsure of what that would entail, it turns out, I was going to be building a following on AngelList, one of the most disruptive, and uniquely social investment platforms to date. The focus of this post is not about the platform or how useful AngelList is, because it been vindicated by many notable Venture Capitalist and by the amount of capital that has been raised on the platform already, but to rather talk about AngelList in accordance with social proof. Read more

Don’t be a Yahoo! Make an Exit Strategy

In April 1995, Sequoia Capital made a Series A investment of $1M in a small company named Yahoo. Soon after, November of 1995, OpenText, Sequoia Capital, SoftBank Group and Thomson Reutors invested a combined $4.8M in a company whose valuation had raised to $40M. With this fast growth, it was not hugely surprising when the company went public in April 01996. At this point, the company was valued at $848M with stock costing $13. By December 1999 Yahoo’s stock doubled, with a share costing $108. Their valuation at that time was $113bn. For all involved, things seemed to be going well.

And then there was Google. Read more

Debt vs. Equity Financing

debt_vs_equity3-630x315

When seeking capital, it is important to think about what your objective with that money will be. Will it help you achieve a short-term or long-term milestone? Do you need a small amount or a huge sum? This will give you a better idea of what kind of financing is right for you.

Debt Financing

Debt financing involves paying back an entity money at a specified time or rate. For instance, a company could issue bonds that pay interest and a principle or it could take out a loan from the bank.

The big advantages of debt financing is that lenders have no right to the company’s future profits, which they would if they had shares (equity) in the company instead. This is a pretty big advantage. Imagine if a rapidly growing company such as Facebook issued shares to early investors in return for capital—the company would have missed out on billions in profits.

A major drawback of taking out debt is that a company will have to pay interest rates according to how risky it is viewed by investors. For instance, with low oil prices, smaller oil producers face the threat of going bankrupt and thus have to pay significantly higher interest rates with investors willing to take the risk of losing their money. Even more so, institutions such as banks will require assets to be put up as collateral in the case the company defaults on its obligations.

Equity Financing

Equity financing involves issuing ownership in a company. This gives owners rights to a company’s assets and profits.

The main advantage is that a company is receiving “free” money as there is no interest rate or obligation to pay. Yet this comes with the disadvantage that the owners are diluting their stake in their company.

Deciding What Kind of Financing is Best for You

This involves examining what stage your business is at. If your business is already earning revenue, and you believe you’d be able to pay off the amount you’re intending to raise with future cash flows, it is probably best to take out debt. If your company is pre-revenue or is suffering from turbulent economic events, like low oil prices, it may be best to issue equity in order to avoid paying painfully high interest rates on debt, especially if future cash flows are uncertain.