When one should go gently…

Startup death is a fact of startup life; most of us don't need to hum Circle of Life to understand that it's not all unicorns, roses and IPOs at the end. Indeed, the startup obituary has almost become its own literary genre, with lots of founders baring their souls about the individual circumstances of their company's demise. One of the…

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The Conventional Wisdom of Equity Compensation

If there is an industry that thrives on upsetting unconventional wisdom, it's tech. Don't talk to strangers? How about hailing a ride -- or renting a room -- from someone you have never met. People will never buy things if they can't hold them first. That sort of stuff. So when someone pokes technology's conventional wisdom right smack in the middle…

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VC Offramp Backup

An insightful and numbers-full piece in, of all places, Pensions and Investments, discusses the traffic jam developing in Venture Capital. As with any other backup, there is an excess at the beginning and less near than the end: as total capital invested continues to rise (more dollars but a smaller number of deals), however there are fewer exits, as market reluctance remains intact…

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M&A Appetite and Indigestion

We facilitate acquisitions. So it's good for us if M&A activity pays off for everyone involved. But too often it does not. The Economist has an excellent post on the difficulty with many M&A deals, focusing on a new study on acquisitions by public companies that, pretty simply,   concludes that the shares of acquirers underperform their less acquisitive peers. Profit margins also…

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Angel Investing and the Devil in Gil

We've been lucky enough to have heard Gil Penchina opine a lot. Unfortunately, most of this was well before he became known for angel investing and his Angel List syndicate, and was usually about his failed romantic exploits. Whatever -- truth is we usually didn't listen anyway. But now we do, and gladly. Burnished to a brighter shine as one…

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Heads: do it. Tails: do it!

We're big fans of behavioral economics, so the idea that you can make better decisions by flipping a coin naturally caught our eye. The author of a working paper that makes this claim is none other than Steven Levitt, of Freakonomist fame. Levitt recruited people who were struggling to make a big decision and were willing to allow their choice to be governed…

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Venture Capital: Variance, Speed and Volume

Looking at venture capital investment during the first half of 2016, Redpoint's Tomasz Tunguz has a nice piece (and several graphs) on the flux in the fundraising market -- early stage deals (Series A) have nosedived by a whopping one-third, as have later stage financings, while expansion stage financings (Series B) are up substantially. This view is a little bit…

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Mutual Fund Fun

One of many interesting changes in venture capital in the past few years has been the emergence of mutual fund companies investing in very late rounds. In many ways this makes sense -- technology companies are delaying IPOs, and a late-stage investment gets a mutual fund pre-IPO equity at a slightly better price (they hope) and often with significant  downside…

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Q3 Venture Bender

When you're in a boom, it's always hard to see if a down quarter is a welcome correction or the beginning of a slump. For venture capital, Q3 could be either.  Based on data from Pitchbook, the number of Q3 financing were down significantly: 22% from the second quarter and 34% from the same period last year. However the dollar…

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Five Best Blogs: December 2015

Well, we all have something to say. Our picks this month include Y Combinator's Sam Altman who lays out the playbook for startup companies; which leads you to the A13Z team's helpful list of the best startup company metrics; Mark Suster's lets us in on what he knows about venture funding (with a nice graph on knowledge evolution); the Economist magazine…

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