CategoryAdvice

In-Person vs. Virtual (2021)

When the lockdowns began and all meetings, conferences, and training programs moved online, I knew what to expect, as I had purposefully experimented with virtual programs back in 2015. After nearly two years with everything virtual, this week was my first in-person gathering. One that gathered together the founders and managers of the 27+ companies of Africa Eats. One that was a gathering of...

Naming is hard… ask Alphabet and Meta

Naming is startup is hard. Harder than naming a baby you’ve yet to meet. Back in 2017 I posted a lesson in how to find a great name. Today (2021), Facebook shows us just how difficult it is to brand a company, especially an established company. Back in 2015, Google demonstrated the same mistakes. Mistake #1 – Naming by Committee No good name has ever been created by committee...

Salt water, lighting… bad journalism or fraud?

I keep seeing stories about a new lamp that is “powered” by salt water. The claim is that you’ll get 45 days of lighting using nothing more than half a liter of salt water… What I want to know is why none of these journalists ever check with an engineer or physicist or high school science teacher on whether such a claim is possible. If it’s not obvious to you, the...

The state and future of vertical farming

As a startup investor (and fund manager), there are themes that appear repeatedly in the dealflow submitted by startups. The entrepreneurs typically can’t see these patterns, and thus end up wasting their time repeating the same business plans that others many have tried and failed. I’ve written about this information asymmetry before and included a short list of business ideas Fledge...

Creating a simple, compelling pitch deck

I wrote a whole book walking entrepreneurs through the process of creating a simple, compelling pitch deck. Apparently most entrepreneurs don’t like to read any more than investors. To provide an alternative, The Next Step: Podcast is running a series of episodes, one slide at a time. Below is the playlist for that series and below that, the slide deck I was referring to, along with as few...

The Ownership Model Canvas

A decade ago The Business Model Canvas made assumptions about business models visible. Today The Ownership Model Canvas does the same for ownership and governance. Unsurprisingly it is Start.coop that brings this tool to the world. Start.coop is the world’s first business accelerator focused on scalable cooperative companies. They have from the start questioned the common ways of doing...

Some funds ask to be paid to waste your time!

Last month I wrote: There are funds that waste the time of startups never actually writing checks. I won’t call them out publicly by name, but one prominent institutional lender just wasted 10 months of time of one my fledglings, and I’m sure they are sitting around as upset with us as we are of them. I thought that was the end of the story. 10 months of conversations and due diligence, two...

Some funds waste your time

The flipside to “unfundable” companies are funds that waste the time of startups never actually writing checks. I won’t call them out publicly by name, but one prominent institutional lender just wasted 10 months of time of one my fledglings, and I’m sure they are sitting around as upset with us as we are of them. First and foremost, investors, if it takes you more than...

1-on-1 Coaching on Patreon

Creating an investor pitch is one of those tasks that seems simple, but isn’t. I wrote a book on the topic years ago, providing slide-by-slide guidance, and that helps first time entrepreneurs, but not enough to create great pitch decks. So… I’ve launched a Patreon to take this one step further, to provide one-on-one, slide-by-slide coaching for anyone who would like the help. I...

Due to Insanity

I do a lot of teaching and the latest topic for me is teaching early-stage/Angel investing. As part of that we talk a lot about “norms”, as most of system for investing in startups is wrapped around norms more than logic. I’ll go into why that is some other time. What struck me a few moments ago was an LLC Agreement I was reviewing for an investment. Normally the reasons listed...

Books

The Next StepThe Next StepThe Next StepThe Next Step The Next StepThe Next StepThe Next StepThe Next Step

Podcast

Fledge

Recent blog posts

Categories

Archives