In response last week's post on The Fastest Growing Areas of Startup Investment in 2015, in which Bitcoin topped the list, I received many questions about the underlying dynamics of this startup segment. Which regions? Which stages? How much is going into Bitcoin companies. Using Crunchbase data, I analyzed BTC investment patterns over the past 4 years.
Founders often ask, when is the right time to expand geographically, add a second product or pursue another customer segment? Most of the time, the answer is not yet, not until the company is quite large, perhaps in the hundreds of employees and the main challenges and questions for the business have been answered well.
If there's one notion that will define the decade early 2010s in startupland, it's the Megaround, the investments of greater than $40M in private companies. Historically, startups needed to trade on public exchanges to access sums of money from $40M to several billion. But today, the private markets are providing this capital. These billions of dollars, which amount to about half of all venture investment, skew substantially towards consumer investments.
As I was researching the theory behind organizational goal-setting, I came across a letter from Hunter Thompson, at the time 20 years old, writing to a friend about goals. Yesterday's post discussed some frameworks for organizations to craft goals to maximize employee happiness and effectiveness. But Thompson's advice is for our goals as individuals.
Of late, I've been having lots of conversations with founders about setting goals. It's a really important topic for many founders, because it's the way that management teams align incentives and focus an organization on a few important areas. It’s their focus that enables startups to move quickly, one of their key competitive advantages in the market. But, what is the optimal way of setting goals?
I learned to drive a car at age 19 on a warm Santiago de Chile night, in an unusual way. A friend named Jose Pedro resolved to teach me after dinner at his apartment, suprised to learn I didn't know how. It was past two am, and without anyone on the streets, it would be safe, he assured me. As we sat in the car, he showed me how to manage the three pedals and the gear shift, and explained the how the clutch worked. Then the lesson started.
In Q2 2015, VC investment totaled $16.7B, about a 66% of the $28B deployed in Q2 2000. And the trends shows no sign of stopping. A big contributor to this growth are nontraditional investors including mutual funds and hedge funds, which now account for approximately 40% of dollars invested. and while the market is similar to the dotcom era in some regards, it is substantially different in others..
When asked why he took Zendesk public this week, CEO Mikkel Svane replied, "At some point you have to move out of your parent's basement." It's a witty quip with some truth to it. Evolving into a public company is a step for about 25-30 venture backed IT companies per year, and it can be a worthwhile, if strenuous, journey.
Earlier this week, we examined the trends in the major categories of startup investment including eCommerce, Software, Social Networking and Education. But which lesser known startup sectors are starting to raise venture dollars? Where are founders finding unique opportunities to innovate?
"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." This line from Simon Sinek's TED talk captures the power of a values based marketing campaign. Simon contrasts feature-based marketing - start with *what* the company is selling continue to *how* they do it and finishes with *why* - to value based campaigns which reverse the story-telling order. Values campaigns start with the why.