I'm a partner at Redpoint and write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups including how to fund raise, startup benchmarks, management best practices and team building. Join thousands of others receiving these blog posts daily by email.


All New Ideas are Combinations of Old Ideas

All new ideas are combinations of old ideas, but not all idea combinations are created equal," wrote Frans Johannsen. Mick Pearson designed the Eastgate office building in Harare, Zimbabwe based on techniques he observed termites employ to stabilize the internal temperature of their nests. Remarkably, the Eastgate maintains an ambient temperature between 73-78°F despite variances in external temperatures from 58° to 88°. Johannsen argues in his book that most innovation comes at the intersection of fields, and Pearson is just one example.

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Inside-Outside-Bias in Startups

Daniel Kahneman wrote about his experiences with the inside/outside bias. Kahneman, a team of graduate students, and the Dean of the Hebrew University School of Education collaborated on curriculum for judgment and decision-making for high schools. At one point, Kahneman surveyed his team to estimate the amount of time remaining to complete project.

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The Optimal Seed Round Strategy - Timing and Size

About one third of US startups that raise a seed round raise a Series A. The larger the seed investment, the greater the odds the company successfully raises the next round. A $500,000 seed round results in a series A 20% of the time, while $1.5M seed increases the chances to 30%, an increase of half. larger seed rounds enable early-stage companies to experiment more, hire more aggressively, recover from mistakes better and attain more of the milestones necessary to raise a series A.

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The Future of Machine Intelligence

The Future of Machine Intelligence is a free collection of 10 interviews machine learning experts filed by David Beyer. The interviews explain exactly where we are with the state-of-the-art, the challenges to advanced machine learning, and some of the applications.

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Inflation and Deflation in the Startup Fundraising Market

Over the last six years, seed rounds have grown in size by 12% annually. Series As have grown by 14%, series Bs by 9%, series Cs by 14% and series Ds by 11%. In that same timeframe, the median series A and series C has doubled. Median seed rounds have more than tripled in size.h

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Q1 2016 Startup Investment Trends

Q1 venture capital investment remains steady relative to Q4 2015 at about $15 billion, but down from the near records attained in 2015. Over the last five years, seven of the twenty-nine quarters have reached or exceeded the $15 billion mark, all of them within the last two years. So, on a historical basis, venture capitalists are still investing at rates substantially above average.

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Winning with Data

There's a new class of company that wield data to create long-term competitive advantage. TheRealReal uses this morning's sales data to inform this afternoon's marketing campaigns. Hubspot motivates its sales teams not just with a target quota, but a blend of key sales metrics that reflect the strategic priorities of the company. Zendesk's data team educates and trains its employees to use data in meetings to prioritize key product management and marketing efforts.

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The Craft of Management

A senior executive described her management philosophy as heavily influenced by Daniel Pink's book Drive. In his 20 minute TED talk, Pink argues traditional incentive structures like bonuses and raises don't work for knowledge workers. Instead, autonomy, mastery and purpose motivate them best.

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The Equation that Governs Your Sales Team's Effectiveness

Sales velocity is the equation that governs the effectiveness of your SaaS startup's sales team. Often, sales teams use the word sales velocity to refer to the number of signed contracts in a given month or quarter. But sales velocity classically defined is a different concept. Sales velocity originates from operations research, field of study pioneered by Charles Babbage, one of the fathers of computing, and Georges Doriot, the patriarch of the venture capital industry. Sales velocity measures the output of the sales team in dollars per day or month.

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Seizing the User's Point of Maximum Intent

A user has maximum intent. She has watched the humorous demo video, chuckled when reading through the clever marketing copy, and filled out the abbreviated, optimized user registration form. She wants to give the product a spin. How long does the account verification link take to appear in her email box? Is it long enough for her to switch tabs, change contexts and lose interest?

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