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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Six Economic Ideas that Changed the World

Over the summer, The Economist magazine published independent pieces on six big economic ideas that changed the world (or at least modern finance). These have now been collected into a a single brief. Economic students will recognize many, but these should be read by anyone interested in why markets work (or don't work) in unexpected ways. Among the best are the…

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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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Venture Alignment

Do venture capitalists get paid very well to lose other people’s money? That is the thesis of a piece by Diane Mulchay, director of private equity at the Kaufmann Foundation. Along with misaligned fee structures and the limited downside risk, the core of her critique is particularly brutal: despite a claimed expertise to recognize and reward new ideas, the venture…

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A Theory of Jerks

We've all been there, perhaps. Struggling through the day to get things done -- noble things, often, for good people. Things that are necessary, important even. Positive outcomes. All that.  And yet sometimes we keep hitting unnecessary obstacles: The line of people in the post office is a mass of unimportant fools; it’s a felt injustice that you must wait…

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Bitcoin of the Realm

2013 in a word? According to at least one economist it was: Bitcoin - a secure peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency created in 2009. New Bitcoins are mined by software programmers, and although users can remain anonymous, central to the system is a public database and sequential record of all transactions (as if one could track the use of…

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Five Best Blogs: January 2014

If blogs aren't visual enough for you, WonkBlog has a series on the best graphs of the year, while back on the blog side, here are some thoughts from Ben Horowitz on taking the mystery out of scaling a company; Tim Harford on why there are no new ideas, only remixes; the folks at First Round suggest the best advice for entrepreneurs in 2013; a…

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