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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One Cool Thing: Square Cash

Paying your friends back for spotting you with some cash just got really, really easy.  With nothing more than an email, Square Cash (from the makers of Square) allows friends and family to send small amounts of money directly to one another's bank accounts via email, regardless of what bank they use and without any fees. There are no passwords to…

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Five Best Blogs: December 2013

This month, read some very cogent reasons why an entrepreneur turned down $5 million in venture funding, or go the other direction and get Paul Graham's advice on how to raise money, and if you have already tried, take comfort in some reasons why you can't raise money; elsewhere there is Tim Harford on 10 email commandments to stay efficient; Freakanomics…

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The Little Start Ups That Couldn’t

In entrepreneurial culture, success dominates the airwaves. A brand new company can succeed in many ways: attracting press, landing influential seed investors, winning contests, and through stories of individual users. This culture is so strong, that the second act of an entrepreneur is often seeding additional entrepreneurs. But the success of a new company quickly fades into the mundane, and…

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One Cool Thing: Upstart

One of the minor signs of professional accomplishment is that dreaded moment where some enterprising young person asks career advice. Often one has to balance between the practical (pursue a typical corporate gig to pay off student debt?) and the promise (start something new, and eat a lot of ramen?). But there may be another way.  A group of former Googlers…

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Facebook “Friends” Goldman

The roughly $2 billion deal between Facebook and Goldman Sachs is so chock-rich of material it will surely spawn a series of longer pieces once it has settled into historical view.  To begin, it coincided with increased scrutiny by the SEC into secondary sales of private securities, particularly since one of the rumoured drivers of the deal was Facebook's desire…

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The Changing Landscape of Early-Stage Financing

Funding options and pathways for early-stage companies are changing – more rapidly now than at any time in the past quarter century.  We’ve detailed many of the changes individually in these newsletters, so it was helpful to find this brief article that encapsulates many of the more interesting shifts into a relatively comprehensive overview. Much of the activity is happening…

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Pandora’s VC Box

For the vast majority of its history (as captured in this 2007 article), music service Pandora was on the brink of shutting its doors.  Sheer perseverance, a tapdance in business models, the easing of regulatory and litigation risk, and the surprising success of its iPhone app – credited with doubling the number of new customers -- and the company is…

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