Hi, I'm a partner at Redpoint. I invest in Series A and B SaaS companies. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 16,000 others receiving these blog posts by email. Subscribe.

The Fundamental Challenge of Your Startup’s First Hire: Leading and Learning at the Same Time

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A team of founders who had just made their first their first hire asked me about culture and on boarding. How do they go about managing people? How do they maintain the values of the business?

The underlying question of successful management is: How can founders lead and learn at the same time?

I think a bastardized version Tolstoy’s well-worn refrain is apt:

Happy teams are all alike; every unhappy team is unhappy in its own way.

Anna Karenina on ...

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Choosing a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Startup

For bloggers and content marketers, choosing the right content syndication tools to distribute posts is critical to developing an audience. The author/marketer must balance four attributes: distribution, measurement, retention and brand.

Table 1: Balancing Syndication Tools Attributes

Channel Distribution Measurement Retention Brand
RSS Poor: only one subscriber Poor: volatile metrics Good but declining So so: controlled by RSS reader
Email ...

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Your Startup’s Three Horizons

horizons.jpg Credit: Karl Scotland

When I started at Redpoint in 2008, I wanted to find every way of analyzing companies I could. Consultants scrutinize the inner-workings of companies daily and create simple frameworks for explaining their operations. So I bugged a handful of friends with experience at the Big 3 consulting firms for their most used frameworks.

Recently I came across an old friend, a framework I studied then called McKinsey’s Three Horizons in The Lean Entrepreneur, an anthology of lean startup techniques and ...

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The Seed Investment Patterns of Billion Dollar Startups

Over the past few years, there has been a pronounced shift in the seed market. VCs now participate quite actively in the market. As a result, seed investment volumes have roughly doubled in the past year.

But is the seed strategy working for startups and VCs? Do hugely successful businesses raise seed capital? Do those businesses include VCs in their seed rounds? And most importantly, do the VCs follow on in the Series A?

To find the answer, I tabulated the early financing history for about 30 companies with ...

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The Founder’s Null Hypothesis

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Over breakfast, I caught up with a close friend, an entrepreneur who is exploring a number of ideas for his next venture. He and his co-founder want to test their way to success with the Lean Startup Model. But they have added a twist to the Lean Startup process I call the Founder’s Null Hypothesis. Here’s how it works:

First, this entrepreneur assumes each of his ideas will fail - the null hypothesis. Then, he and his co-founder write down a set of milestones ...

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Announcing Redpoint’s $16M Series A Investment in Looker

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Big data technologies like Hadoop, HBase, Redshift, Vertica and others store ever greater quantities of data. As the capacity to store this data increases, so does the importance of extracting value and insight from it.

Big data adoption is a four step process: generate data, store data, hire specialists to analyze the data, and finally democratize data exploration. Today, businesses lack great data exploration tools. Looker has built those tools.

Two hours before a meeting with ...

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Cohort Analysis for Startups: Six Summary Reports to Understand Your Customer Base (With Code)

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Cohort analysis provides deep insight into customer bases because cohorts expose how customer accounts grow, evolve and churn. Plus, cohort analysis provides a framework to evaluate product releases, marketing pushes and advertising campaign performance.

The Six Cohort Reports I Use to Understand Trends

Below is a list of the six reports I create when analyzing cohorts. The combination of these six reports provides a robust summary of the state of a customer base. By no means exhaustive, this collection ...

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Anticipatory Computing: The Next Big Thing Is Enabling Laziness

Control4’s IPO last week and Nest’s massive success mark the beginning of mainstream, useful connected devices. In the decade to come, the most successful will be united by one common characteristic. They will anticipate our needs and make us lazier.

Living is hard work. So many things to remember, like buying milk on the way home tonight. Plenty of software has been written to help us manage our daily torrent of to dos. In fact, there is a fine app for Remembering the Milk.

But it has ...

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Great Startup Product Design Is Telepathic

I never thought learning how to write better might help me understand product design but it has. Great literature and well designed products share one defining attribute: they create a telepathic connection between the creator and the consumer.

Before you chuckle and write me off as a palm reading gypsy, hear me out. The idea isn’t mine, but Stephen King’s. Over the weekend, I read King’s blunt and inspirational autobiographical narrative, “On Writing.” In this book, Stephen King accomplishes two things. First, he tells the story of his struggles ...

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The 3 Different Strategies of Venture Funds

As I wrote about in a post on aligning founder and VC incentives, it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand their own ambitions and the ambitions of investors. The most important part of that is understanding the financial motivations and the dynamics of the industry VCs face.

Typically, VCs adopt primarily one of three strategies with a fund [1]:

  1. Small fund, small ownership positions, many investments in markets that will consistently generate sub-$100M acquisitions.
  2. Medium fund, sizable ownership positions, a moderate number of investments in markets ...

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