Has it become harder to raise money? is a question I hear all the time. On one hand, the total dollars invested by VCs is relatively flat at just under $30B per year, according to the NVCA. On the other hand, the stories of difficulty raising series As and Bs have become a steady drumbeat."
The average seed stage startup has a 20% chance of raising a Series A according to Crunchbase data for IT startups who raised seed and Series A rounds between 2006 and 2013. But this figure varies significantly sector by sector."
Naming your startup can be one of the hardest things to do when starting a company. First, the name has to resonate with each founder. Then, the domain must be available to buy. Last and perhaps most importantly, investors need to like it because the first letter of startup's name has meaningful impact on how easily the company will be able to raise money. Whatever you do, don't pick a name that starts with the letter J. Or K. Or Q. Instead, favor names beginning with T, O and A.
How large of a seed round should founders raise to maximize their chances of raising a Series A? Smaller seed rounds are simpler and faster to raise because they typically require fewer investors. They may also require less dilution because of the smaller investment size. On the other hand, to raise a Series A, the startup needs enough runway to hire a team and prove certain milestones to Series A investors."
In What's Up with the Series A, Nikhil Basu Trivedi documents the bifurcation in the Series A market. While there are a handful of startups that raise blockbuster Series As of greater than $10M, the average Series A investment size remains relatively constant over the past 6 years just around $5.3M for US technology companies according to Crunchbase data. After reading his post, I wondered if a big seed round is a leading indicator of a big series A. In other words, would larger seed rounds provide enough negotiating leverage in fundraising conversations to bolster average check sizes and increase pre-money valuations?"
What should the optimal revenue per customer be for a SaaS company? One could assert million dollar contracts typical of enterprise sales provide more long-term stability and total revenue opportunity. Others may contend, larger customer bases paying smaller license fees enable more predictable growth. Which is the correct argument?"
OODA was a technique coined by John Boyd, one of the leading military thinkers of the last 100 years, based on the German’s Blitzkrieg-style warfare which prioritized speed and surprise over the traditional win, hold and grind attrition techniques of trench warfare. After @pmarca tweeted about the concept, I read one of the books on the topic called Certain to Win."
Given all the momentum of the NoSQL movement, it would be easy to write off SQL-based technologies as forgotten, or simply standing still. But there's a tremendous amount of innovation occurring in SQL databases. Amazon's Redshift, an elastic data-warehousing solution launched in late 2012 is the most salient example.
An entrepreneur asked me the question, what is the maximum viable churn for a startup? Within that question, a few others are embedded. How should a founder think about trading off efforts to grow revenue and mitigate churn? What is the impact of account growth on net churn? Startups must walk a tight-rope to balance growth, churn and cash. Below is the framework I use for working through maximum viable churn."
Aside from a startup's internal considerations about the right time to raise money, founders should weigh the seasonality of the fund raising market when planning their raise. There's a rule of thumb batted around the valley that the worst times to raise capital are in the dog-days of summer and after Thanksgiving. As it turns out, this aphorism is only a half-truth."