Raising money is hard.
Entrepreneurs need to understand what’s involved – from what to consider when picking the right venture partner and how to think about the economic and control rights at stake, to what life will be like after the deal closes. This assumes that the company is ready to raise venture money in the first place – an important consideration that not enough entrepreneurs really stop to consider.
At Foundry Group, we believe in a level playing field when it comes to knowledge. We want entrepreneurs to understand all the issues and to make the most informed decisions they can. That not only benefits them, but it benefits us as their partners and investors. That was one of the motivations for Jason and I to write Venture Deals. It’s also why Jason co-teaches the venture capital course at CU Boulder.
We believe that access to information is a good thing.
So when the founders of Hotshot, a startup that provides digital learning for lawyers, asked if they could come to Boulder and interview Jason and me for a video on raising venture capital, we happily obliged.
The video they created is called “Advice on Raising Venture Capital.” Anyone can access it for free, and we encourage you to check it out. While Hotshot’s content is aimed at lawyers and law students, this course is for entrepreneurs. In it, Jason and I discuss the different things that founders should consider when raising venture money for the first time.
We don’t have a stake in Hotshot – we just like what they’re up to and wanted to share the content.
Over the past 25 years, I’ve attended approximately 14,387 board meetings. My partners and I talk a lot about how to improve them and today released The Foundry Group Manifesto on Board Meetings. It follows:
In 2013, I wrote a book with Mahendra Ramsinghani about board meetings titled Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors. It was a tough book to write because every time I dug into it, I got bored, but I think it ended up being a contribution to the corpus of entrepreneurial knowledge. However, I anticipate Bored Meetings will be an even more significant contribution.
As a preparation for something new and exciting, let’s reminisce a little. In 2011, we did our first Foundry Group music video “I’m a VC.”
I remember being amazed when the Youtube views went over 100,000. I recall being equally amazed when I heard that our IT guy (Ryan) had cleaned up our random Google accounts, deleted firstname.lastname@example.org, and as a result deleted the video. When it was restored, the view counter was at 0.
It’s Sunday and it’s -8 degrees in Boulder. Egads. As I sat in my warm office catching up on email from the week, I sent links to our Foundry Group videos to a friend that had never seen them. I realized two things: (1) I’m still annoyed with Ryan for accidentally deleting our Youtube account and resetting the counters on both videos from > 100,000 views to 0 views and (2) A bunch of people in my world have probably never seen these videos.
So – for your viewing pleasure, here are me and my partners making fun of ourselves. As a special bonus, check out my singing and dance movies. And Seth – well – enough said.
If you see Jason in the next few weeks, tell him that it’s time to make Video #3 so we can get Lindel in the mix. Maybe the next one will be called “I’m an LP.”
I just did a long 90 minute video interview stretch with Boulder Digital Arts that generated a number of specific videos on entrepreneurship. While they are selling them, a few are free. One of the free ones is on Founder’s Syndrome and Origin Stories. Given the last few posts I wrote on CEOs, and some upcoming ones, I thought you might be interested in this one.
If you liked that, take a look at some of the others. They include:
- What I Wish I Knew About Business 20 Years Ago
- The Impact of My Book Startup Communities
- Essential Advice When Raising Capital
While they are inexpensive, if you use the discount code “Feld2014” you can get an additional 15% off.
Time for a new Foundry Group video. If you want the backstory, go take a look at the post Foundry Group Announces Major Shift In Investment Strategy. If you just want a break from reality and hopefully a few laughs in the process, enjoy.
The video has over 100 easter eggs referring to either portfolio companies of ours or other things in our lives. Some are obvious (like the tshirts), some are very obscure. If you find one, list it in the comments. The best, most obscure one will win a special treat.
The lyrics follow.
Man, things are so hard these days
Tell me about it. I wish we could go back to when things just worked
You know, those old guys don’t know lucky they had it with all their technology 30 and 40 years ago
Y’all, you straight. Let me drop a story on you
I’m king of email, I craft a witty header
Anywhere, any time, life is so much better
Ninety unread emails. Inbox zero, hashtag #FAIL!
Life was better when we licked and stamped our letters
Gonna hit a new club with my favorite homie
Got GPS Satellites watchin’ over me
They got me to the spot, but they were off a block
Life was better when we trusted Rand McNally
Took 28 pictures of my gourmet dinner
I want to post them for all the world to honor
I shared on Instagram. No likes, I got no fans
My life was better with photos made of paper
I need a fact so I do a search on Google
All these results man, are giving me an eyeful
I see Viagra ads, That shit’s for older dads
My life was better using Dewey Decimal
Chorus: These are the worst of times (repeat)
So many videos, I could waste away my years
I’m rockin’ Gangnam Style, Harlem Shake has me in tears
Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, I got no time for you
Life was better with my TV and rabbit ears
Check out my new phone. Global connectivity
3G, 4G, I even got my LTE
So then I phoned my pop But still the damn call dropped
Life was better with faxes and a rotary
I found a website. Amazon, they sell it all!
Silk boxers, gouda cheese, they even got robotic balls
Addicted to “One Click.” Right to my house they ship
Y’all life was better fighting traffic at the shopping mall
I got my choice of every album ever made
iTunes, Spotify, anywhere I want it played
I just can’t choose between, Iron Maiden, Beiber, Sting
Life was better with my vinyl and mix tapes
Chorus: These are the worst of times (repeat)
Today’s first Tech Star video has nothing to do with TechStars. Instead, it will go down in history as another nerd period piece by Terry Kawaja from GCA Savvian. I first met Terry when we hired him to be CFO of Raindance Communications to help take it public. We had a twisted sister streak then which he maintains to this day. Enjoy the video – it’s a great one. And – I’ll see you later this morning with the real TechStars Founders 2010 Episode 4 video.