David Beisel's Perspective on Digital Change

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Playbook for Incoming MBAs to Start a Company Out of School

Like a lot of students, I went into business school a decade ago with a set plan to start a company coming straight after graduation in co-founding an internet startup (… again). During the following two years I did a number of things which prepared me for that endeavor, but then also in retrospect, I […]


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Post-Seed Funding Checklist for Founder/CEOs

You’ve just closed your seed round.  Other than starting to build, hire, and take over the world, there are a bunch of mundane things to do right away.  The following is a first pass at a checklist of items for Founder CEOs to take care of in the first couple weeks after they’ve closed their […]


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Why Does Funding Begin with “Fun?”

I’ve always wondered why funding begins with fun.  Those three letters.  F.  U.  N.  Fun.   For entrepreneurs, seeking seed capital means meeting with numerous VC firms and sometimes dozens of angels… fun?  Telling the same pitch over and over again…  taking time away from more immediately impactful endeavors like recruiting and customer development…  the endless […]


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Our Investment in One Jackson: Fresh, Yet Familiar

One Jackson is a new online children’s clothing retailer which is surprisingly fresh – all of its designs were created by independent designers and then curated with love from its community of parents.  The results are high-quality fashionable creations at an affordable pricepoint – which look great and are uniquely different from mass clothing brands.  Today […]


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Signaling Pricing Expectations Early in Seed Investment Discussions

As more transparency to seed-round funding transaction details have emerged, especially with the advent of Angelist and accelerator programs (which both educate and even sometimes set terms & structure for graduating companies), I’ve noticed an increasing number of entrepreneurs signal pricing expectations much earlier in the seed fundraising process.  By communicating pricing expectations with potential […]


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VC Paradox: The Best of Times & Worst of Times (Part I)

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen extremely positive headlines about the surge in VC fundings like “Venture Capital Hits Highest Level Since Dot-Com Bubble.”  It must be the best of times for the industry with $8.1B invested in startups during the second quarter of 2012 (the highest in a decade!) along “…with seed-round venture […]


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On Personal Networking: Ask For and Be Specific

Personal networking is a key business skill.  And as a VC, I get plenty of practice doing it.  As one of my former high school coaches used to put it, “Practice doesn’t make perfect.  Practice makes better.”  While I guess you could develop a “strategy” to networking successfully (… with many a book written about […]


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How to Evaluate Firms for a Seed VC Syndicate

There are essentially two distinct basic strategies for startup entrepreneurs to raise a seed round of capital: Subscription approach – An entrepreneur sets a structure (usually a convertible note) and recruits individual angel investors who subscribe to the round, all without a term-driving lead investor. Term-driving investor approach – An entrepreneur finds a lead (quasi-)institutional […]


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What A VC Orders for Breakfast Says

One of the things that surprised me most about venture capital when I got into the business is how much VCs seem to like to meet for breakfast. VCs usually typically reserve dinners for portfolio companies’ CEOs and board members. And “doing lunch” doesn’t happen that often because VCs don’t like going out of the […]


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To Leave or Not to Leave as Your Startup Grows

A few weeks ago, a very good friend who works at a growing startup emailed me with the following question (in which I’ve masked just a few of the identifying details): What does it mean when almost all of a startup’s early employees have left the company? By almost any measure, [our company] is doing […]


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