Episode 7: Jon Ferrara Explains Building Relationships As An Entrepreneur PT2

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Part 2 of our interview with Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble, and successful entrepreneur best known for being of GoldMine Software Corp, one of the early pioneers in the Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software categories for Small to Medium sized Businesses (SMBs).

In this episode, we really dive into growing your company, disruption, growth hacking and leveraging social networking to determine influencers and connect with them. Towards the end we also talk about building startup teams and how to leverage relationship building to find the right investors for your startup.

Jon tells great stories about how he has grown multiple companies, gain investors and clients that are truly inspiring. Beyond just anacedotes, he shares how to build systems which enable entrepreneurs to organize and deal with the pressure of owning a business.

Key advice to entrepreneurs

“Follow up and follow through. Not following up is the biggest cause of failure in business”. Jon Ferrara

How To Learn More About Jon

Twitter: @Jon_Ferrara

4 Things Every Founder Should Know Before Your Investor Meeting


Please Sir, I beg you.  Don't do this.

In a previous piece, I discussed what early stage entrepreneurs needed to know in order to secure angel investment attention in 2014. For the fortunate few who were successful in landing a coveted “yes” to taking an actual meeting, there is usually little time left to prepare for the most important part of the funding process – the investor presentation. This is the first true opportunity for startups to provide an in-depth narrative and discuss financial expectations with an interested investor.

Fortunately, many entrepreneurs have already gone down this path and know that balancing the everyday role of running a startup and finding the time to prepare for investor meetings doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. Consider the four following ways to make sure you don’t lose investor attention now that you’ve got it and enter the negotiating room as prepared as possible.

incontent3Have a Command of the Facts

Now that you’ve managed to spark the interest of an investor after what was probably a brief initial encounter, preparing for the subsequent in-depth meeting is a much more intense experience. You must be prepared to speak in depth to every aspect of your venture—management’s experience, go-to-market strategies, competitive landscape, etc. Don’t guess; when asked a question to which you don’t know the answer, it’s better to acknowledge the quality of the question and tell the prospective investor that you would like further time to consider the question and that you will provide your answer in a follow-up email or phone call. Furthermore, don’t be defensive, because you will come off as someone with whom it would be difficult for the angel investor to work. Instead, recognize the questions for what they are; namely, not objections to you, your thinking, or the venture, but simply probes to learn

whether your venture meets the individual’s or group’s investment criteria.

Don’t shy away from your failures

It might seem like discussing past failures of the founder or its management team would reflect poorly on the startup and therefore should be avoided, but that is actually the opposite of what is likely to impress a potential investor. Instead, be prepared to discuss previous failures and what was learned from them; an experienced investor will have done his/her homework and know about them anyway so be upfront and use it to your advantage.

What kept you up night after night asking questions and vowing never to do again? How have your failures shaped your strategies for your current venture? An investor wants to be certain that if a financial relationship does result from the meeting, the founder and team are prepared to receive constructive criticism and learn from past mistakes. The ability to navigate uncomfortable situations and withstand scrutiny from an investor or group of investors demonstrates the startup’s capacity to handle the inevitable pressures that will result from running the business.

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Be realistic about the money

It’s easy to “spend” another person’s money. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the amount you are looking for is a pittance to the investor because of his/her wealth. Investors worked hard for their financial comfort, and they are likely to guard it preciously. The investors with whom you will be speaking have allocated a certain amount of their wealth to early stage investments, but from among the investment opportunities within that asset class they’ll favor the ventures that, all other factors being equal, offer the largest potential reward for the least amount of risk.

That means that you must establish a realistic and defensible pre-money valuation (“PMV”) or current value for your venture. Set it unrealistically high, and the investor is likely to screen you out both because the PMV would not yield the investor enough ownership to meet his/her return expectations and because by doing so you’ll have shined a bright light on your inexperience, unreasonableness, or arrogance.

Setting your PMV is an essential exercise in searching for equity investment. Do your research— what value have other companies in your space and geographic region recently sustained in their financings? Early stage venture attorneys in your area may be able to help you answer this question. There are also online tools like Worthworm to assist you with this exercise. Avail yourself of all of the tools and information available to you to set your value, because even like the best public stock, your investment opportunity will only be attractive at the “right” price.

Have clear go-to market and growth strategies

An investor is going to want to understand in very real and clear terms how you plan to reach your target audience and how that will scale over time. Be prepared to discuss revenue plans and business models, and to defend your decision for each. Create a narrative that proves why your venture is worth the current asking price and how that worth will continue to grow at an attractive pace.

The true tests of the validity of your strategies lies in customer acceptance and growth in your venture’s value. With respect to the former, do all that you can to show early sales, i.e., customer validation, and be prepared to discuss what you’ve learned from these customers. With respect to the latter, recognize that as an entrepreneur among your highest responsibilities is to implement strategies that will grow the value of your company, and by extension the value of an investor’s ownership in your company, to its highest points at the quickest pace. Ensure that you can articulate how you intend to build the company’s value quickly and consistently toward an exit event that will yield your investors their target rates of return.

Leading a startup team is a risky move. Thousands upon thousands of startups are seeking startup capital from a relatively limited number of investors. If a great idea does spark the interest of a potential investor, use the investor presentation as an opportunity not to extoll how great your idea is, but how prepared you and your team are to execute the idea and grow it into a highly valuable business.

Alan Lobock is the co-founder of Worthworm (www.worthworm.com) and SkyMall. Having been on both sides of the start-up investment scene– seeking investment for his ventures and as an angel investor himself, Alan launched Worthworm to solve one of the biggest challenges young companies and their prospective investors face—how to compute a credible and defensible PMV for an early stage venture seeking angel investment.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Communicating With Investors



Rachael Qualls

Fundraising is incredibly important, but it’s only part of the equation. To make your vision a reality, you need to sell your potential to investors and continue to prove your worth down the road. This requires consistent communication before, during, and after your initial round of funding. Below is your guide to working with capitalists after the initial funding phase to ensure that you have the tools and knowledge to land repeat investments.

The Power of the JOBS Act

The JOBS Act has transformed investor relations from a necessary evil to an incredibly powerful tool in the entrepreneur’s arsenal. Before the JOBS Act, companies couldn’t advertise the fact that they were raising money. With the elimination of that ban, they were given permission to market their worth and financial needs to investors.

In the past, the s

cales were tipped heavily in favor of investors, who took a long time to get back to entrepreneurs, do due diligence, or fund deals. The investment options were plenty, but the market lacked efficiency and effectiveness.

All that changed with the rise of crowdfunding. With the rise of online funding platforms, new prospects are accessible to more investors, and savvy funders know they have to move quickly to gain access to the hottest companies. In addition, potential investors who might have only considered the public market before can now explore the private sector from the comfort of their homes.

This increased awareness translates into more investing in private companies, potentially making it easier to raise substantial amounts of funding without having to go public. But it also means the market is flooding, forcing entrepreneurs to stand out from the swells of startups online.


The Investor Communication Checklist

Investors who provided initial funds can be a resource for more capital as your company grows, but only if you give them the information they need and provide updates on how their investment is performing. Consider these necessities:

1. Updates on company progress: Provide updates on a monthly basis to engage your investors. Giving investors dire news at the last minute is not just unprofessional; it’s bad for business. The less time they have to absorb the news, the less motivated they will be to help. In my investor updates, I always include a section titled “Things Keeping Me Up at Night” that lays out the issues that most concern me. This gets everything on the table. Frequently, investors reach out to offer assistance if they can.

2. Monthly financial reports: It’s a reality in today’s startup environment: Nearly every company will need to ask current investors for more money. If you’re upfront, investors will understand your situation and might be more willing to help. Financial reports guarantee that everyone is on the same page.

3. Changes in capitalization: If you raise more money or set up an employee stock option pool, current investors will be affected. Typically, they need to approve anything that affects changes to their shares. Again, clear and consistent communication can smooth these transitions.

4. Tax information: If your company is an LLC, you will need to provide a K-1 form to each investor to indicate his or her share of the earnings for tax purposes. Organization will be key as more and more investors are added to the company.

5. Major ownership changes: Major transactions, such as selling the company, may require the approval of all shareholders. You need to inform your investors efficiently and get signed documents, approvals, or votes from shareholders to complete negotiations.

incontent3 Building Your Reputation

Reputation is everything. You’re only as viable as your funders believe you to be, and the suggestions above will strengthen your company’s brand in the eyes of current and potential investors. Present information that is organized, accurate, and digestible.

The first thing a potential investor will do is call current investors for feedback. If those experienced investors feel uninformed about your company, they will likely convey a negative message to the newcomer. Moreover, new investors will check to see if current investors are putting up more capital for your company. If a new investor feels that older investors are abandoning ship, you have a communication problem and potentially a much more disastrous financial problem in your future.

Every communication to your investors is building a foundation for future investment. Investors saw promise in you and your ideas — it’s your responsibility to keep them educated about your goals, operations, and finances.

As it turns out, being the boss requires a lot of talking. Be proactive by connecting with your investors on a regular basis. After all, they’re the ones funding your dream.

Rachael Qualls is the founder and CEO of Venture 360, a platform that provides investors and investor groups with a great platform to manage their portfolios. Venture 360 also provides entrepreneurs the support they need to manage their relationships with investors so they can focus on running their businesses. Connect with Rachael on Twitter and Google+.

42 European Investors You Really Need to Know

EEHeadline Map of New Europe

Last month we posted 32 Most Influential Investors of 2013 (Outside Silicon Valley). And you loved it! It was easily one of the most popular posts of the month.

But, within hours of publication, we started getting the question: What about Europe?

It was a hand to forehead moment for us. OF COURSE we should’ve included investors from Europe (and other parts of the globe, too). We’re the voice of startups everywhere else, after all. Not “the voice of startups only in America.”


Needless to say, we set about to right our wrong. Below is our list of top European investors, and man is it a doozy! I hope we’ve more than atoned for our sins here, y’all.

What about India, you ask? Or Asia? Or Australia? If you have a suggestion for a must-include investor from one of those regions, shoot us an email (startups@nibletz.com), and we’ll get right to work on our next list.

But, for now:

42 Top European Investors

  1. Alexander von Frankenberg–High-Tech Grunderfonds, Managing Partner, Germany
  2. Andrin Bachman–Piton Capital, Partner, England
  3. Anne Glover–Amadeus Capital, CEO/Cofounder, England
  4. Christian Leybold @leybolde.ventures, General Partner, Germany
  5. David Mott @davidmottOxford Capital, Partner/Cofounder, England
  6. Dimitry Chikhachev @dchikachevRuna Capital, Cofounder/Managing Partner, Russia
  7. Eileen Burbridge @eileentsoPassion Capital, Partner, England
  8. Eric Archambeau–Wellington Partners, General Partner, England, Notable Investment: Hailo
  9. Gianluca Dettori @dgiluzdPixel, Chairman, Italy
  10. Hendrik Brandis–Early Bird, Partner/Cofounder Germany, Notable Investment: RapidMiner
  11. Jari Mieskonen–Conor Venture Partners, Managing Partner, Sweden
  12. Jeremie Berrebi @jberrebiKima Ventures, Cofounder, France/Israel, Notable Investment: Rapportive
  13. Jimmy Fussing Nielsen–Sunstone Capital, Managing Partner, Denmark, Notable Investment: Prezi
  14. John Waddell–Archangels, CEO, Scotland
  15. Julie Meyer @juliemariemeyerAriadne Capital, Chairman/CEO, England, Notable Investments: Monitise, Quill, Matternet
  16. Kevin Comolli @kevincomolliAccel Capital, Partner, England, Notable Investments: Atlassian, Etsy, Supercell
  17. Klaus Hommel–Angel investor, Notable Investments: Spotify, Facebook, Fab.com, Airbnb, Skype
  18. Kolja Hebenstreit @koljaTeam Europe Ventures, Cofounder/Managing Partner, Germany
  19. Marc Simoncini @marcsimonciniJaina Capital, CEO/Founder, France
  20. Mark Farmer–Eden Ventures, Partner/Cofounder, England, Notable Investment: Zemanta
  21. Mark Tluszcz @marktluszczMangrove Capital Partners, CEO/Founder, Luxemburg, Notable Investments: Skype, Wix
  22. Neil Rimer @narimerIndex Ventures, Partner/Cofounder, Switzerland, Notable Investments: Last.fm, Supercell
  23. Nenand Marovac–DN Capital, Founder/CEO/Managing Partner, England, Notable Investments: Shazam
  24. Niklas Zennstrom–Atomico, CEO/Founding Partner, England, Cofounder Skype, Notable Investments: Skype, Fab, and Jawbone
  25. Norman Fiore–Dawn Capital, Managing Partner, England
  26. Ondrej Bartos @obartosCredo Ventures, Partner, Czech Republic
  27. Paul Heydon @pheydonLondon Venture Partners, General Partner, England, Notable Investments: Supercell
  28. Pawel Chudzinski @chawelPoint Nine Capital, Cofounder/Managing Partner, Germany
  29. Philippe Collombel @pcollombelPartech Ventures, Co-Managing Partner, France, Notable Investments: Scoop.it
  30. Rob Kniaz @robkHoxton Ventures, Founding Partner, England
  31. Robert Bonanzinga @bonanzingaBalderton Capital, Partner, England, Notable Investment: Sketchfab
  32. Rodrigo Sepulveda @rodrig0–angel, France
  33. Roman Huber–Bayern Kapital, Managing Partner, Bavaria
  34. Sean Seton-Rogers @setonrogPROfounders Capital, England, Notable Investments: TweetDeck
  35. Sherry Coutou @scoutou–angel, England
  36. Sitar Teli @sitarConnect Ventures, Managing Partner, England
  37. Stephen Chandler @sc_chandlerNotion Capital, Managing Partner, England
  38. Sven Achter–Holtzbrinck Ventures, General Partner, Germany
  39. Tellef Thorleifsson–Northzone Ventures, Cofounder, Norway, Notable Investment: Spotify
  40. Timo Ahopelto @timomjLifeline Ventures, Finland
  41. Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack–Seed Capital, Managing Partner, Denmark
  42. Yaron Valler @yvallerHasso Plattner Ventures, Managing Partner, Germany


20 Most Active Seed Investors Outside Silicon Valley


We all know the names that come up when we talk about the most active early stage investors: 500 Startups and Andreesen Horowitz.

However, when CB Insights released their list of the 150 most active seed investors of 2013 earlier this month, we couldn’t help but notice than an awful lot of the top funds were outside of Silicon Valley. Perhaps this is to be expected. After all, despite the mythical size of the Valley in startup culture, it’s actually a pretty small area. And everywhere else is, well, big.

Still, when 15 of the top 20 most active seed funds are not based in the Valley, it might be time to take notice. It’s probably no surprise that New York had the most number of firms in the top 20. New York is quickly becoming seen as the other tech hub in the United States. However, cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas are also represented, and in the expanded list Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Phoenix all made a showing.

Of course, there’s plenty of debate over whether or not so many seed funds are a good idea. (Series A crunch, anyone?) The great news about so many seed funds popping up around the US is that more and more entrepreneurs are getting a shot at testing our their ideas.

And that will ultimately prove to be a good thing for all of us.

20 Most Active Seed Investors Outside Silicon Valley

lerer ventures

  1. Lerer Ventures–The New York-based venture firm is the most active seed investor everywhere else, and they were 4th overall. The guys at Lerer Ventures also run the incubator SohoTechLabs.
  2. First Round Capital–Often credited with innovation in a field usually afraid of change, First Round Capital focuses on provided services and mentorship, as well as cash, to the companies they invest in. The First Round Review is a great resource for founders looking to better understand startup life.
  3. Innovation Works–Innovation Works is focused in southwest Pennsylvania, making it the first on our list with a regional focus. They also run the AlphaLab accelerator.
  4. Atlas Venture–Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Atlas Venture focuses on early stage technology and life sciences. They’ve been in the game for awhile, raising their first fund in 1986.
  5. Connecticut Innovations–This private/public partnership has been operating in Connecticut since 1989. They partner with other investors to provide seed funds for startups and small businesses around Connecticut.
  6. Founder Collective–This New York fund boasts that every investor has also started a company, giving them an advantage in helping entrepreneurs. Some of their companies include Buzzfeed and Makerbot.
  7. Great Oaks Venture Capital–Also based in NYC, Great Oaks focuses on verticals like e-commerce, adtech, mobile and social. Some of their investments include Storify, OKCupid, and ModCloth.
  8. Red Swan Ventures–Forget the “unicorns.” This New York firm is looking for the “red swans: great companies most of us never saw coming.” Some of those “red swans”? Birchbox, Warby Parker, and Bonobos.
  9. RRE Ventures–This is a multi-stage firm in New York, but they’re still one of the most active seed investors in the country. At the early stage, they’ve invested in the Skimm and Datadog, among others.
  10. CIT GAP Funds--This nonprofit works with other investors to coordinate investments in Virginia-based tech companies.
  11. ENIAC Ventures–ENIAC claims to be the first seed stage fund focused exclusively on mobile technology, raising their first fund in 2009. Based in New York, the firm has invested in companies like Localytics, Thumb, and Shake.
  12. Maveron–Seattle-based Maveron focuses solely on consumer businesses. They had a big win last year when Zulily rocked their IPO.Vegas Tech Fund

  13. Vegas Tech Fund–Of all the community-based funds, Vegas Tech Fund is probably the most famous. Powered by Tony Hsieh, they are focused on revitalizing downtown Las Vegas.
  14. NewSchools Venture Fund–This Boston-based nonprofit is focused on transforming education, especially for lower income kids. They invest in edtech as well as charter schools.
  15. ff Venture Capital–Another firm based in New York, ff Venture focuses on pouring in resources and mentorship to its portfolio companies. They run an accelerator, and also make a point to keep money back for follow on funding within its portfolio.
  16. Greycroft Partners–Greycroft also seeks to serve its entrepreneurs, keeping its fund small but boasting of access to networks that would rival the big firms. They’ve seen some big wins like Braintree, paidContent.org, and The Huffington Post, to name a few.
  17. Bessemer Venture Partners–Bessemer prides itself on seeking out new industries and opportunities. Some of their big areas of focus right now are Brazil, cleantech, and cyber security.
  18. Upfront Ventures--A discussion of active venture funds would not be complete without Mark Suster’s fund out of LA. Suster is famous for his bluntness, and companies like awe.sm, DataSift, and MoonFrye benefit from the industry experience found at Upfront
  19. Index Ventures–Based in England, Index Ventures they’re different because they are true partners, instead of free agents under the same umbrella. They focus on companies in tech and life scienes.
  20. Resolute.vc–The last company in our list is also based in New York and sees itself as a service to entrepreneurs, not just a paycheck. They’ve invested in companies like Barkbox and Homejoy, among others.


32 Most Influential Investors of 2013 (Outside Silicon Valley)


 Investors outside Silicon Valley

Investors. We love to talk about them, to watch what they’re doing, to know who they’re talking to. Even for startups choosing to bootstrap, investors can often have a lot of influence in the way you think about markets and ideas.

But, who should you listen to?

To help you figure that out, we made a list of the most influential investors to watch in 2014. With so many out there, we had a few criteria we used to decide who to include:

  1. Outside of Silicon Valley. Obviously, Nibletz is the voice of startups everywhere else! While we pay close attention to lots of Valley investors, like Paul Graham and Dave McClure, this list is specifically for investors who choose to live/invest everywhere else.
  2. We looked at CB Insights’ most active investor list from 2013.
  3. We considered the founders of active funds that are creating some buzz in the investing world.
  4. Personal brand. A lot of investors are active on Twitter or blog regularly. We took into account how each investor’s personal brand is growing.

Lists like these are always subjective, of course, but these are the investors we’ll be watching in 2014. (And  you should, too!)

alexisohanianAlexis Ohanian–@alexisohanian

Co-founder of Reddit and New York based investor Alexis Ohanian is a prolific angel investor. His investments include Couple, Teespring, Crowdtilt, and Hubspot.

andydunnAndy Dunn–@dunn

Andy Dunn is the co-founder and CEO of Bonobos and Red Swan. He’s based in New York, and his investments include Birchbox, Coinbase, Warby Parker, TaskRabbit, and Hailo.

andyweissmanAndy Weissman–@aweissman

Andy Weissman is also a partner at New York’s Union Square Ventures. He’s also the founder and COO of Betaworks. His investments include Twitter, Path, Codecademy, Bit.ly, Tweetdeck, Tumblr, and StockTwits.

AndyWhiteAndy White–@leanstarter

As a Partner in the Vegas Tech Fund, Andy White lives and breathes Las Vegas. His investments show that: BoomStartup, DropShip, AngelList, and 500 Startups, among others.

bijanBijan Sabet–@bijan

Based in Boston, Bijan Sabet is another blogging VC with good industry knowledge. He’s the founder of Spark Capital, and his investments include Foursquare, OMGPOP, Tumblr, Twitter, and Runkeeper.

bradfeldBrad Feld–@bfeld

If you’ve been around the startup space for a minute, you’ve heard of Brad Feld. He literally wrote the book(s) on startup culture. Based in Boulder, his investments include Makerbot, Fitbit, Zynga, Mile High Organics, and Yesware.

BradKeywellBrad Keywell–@bradkeywell

As the cofounder and director of Groupon, Brad Keywell has been around the Chicago scene for awhile. As a cofounder and managing partner of Lightbank, he continues to invest in the area. His investments include Udemy, Zaarly, Boomerang, and Benchprep.

CharlieODonnellCharlie O’Donnell–@ceonyc

Charlie O’Donnell is a New York based investor at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. He blogs at This is Going to Be Big. His investments include GroupMe, Refinery29, editorially, and Chloe + Isabel

ChrisHollodChris Hollod–@chrishollod

LA-based Chris Hollod manages A-Grade Investments, theVC fund Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary, and Ron Burkle. His major investments include Foursquare, Uber, Zaarly, Warby Parker, Chegg, Flipboard, and Dwolla.

Sacca_profileChris Sacca–@sacca

Chris Sacca spends his time in Truckee, CA, where he’s the Managing Director of Lowercase Capital. He’s a prolific investor, but some of the big names include Uber, Kickstarter, Turntable.fm, Instagram, Path, Charbeat, and Facebook.

davidcohenDavid Cohen–@davidcohen

As a founder/CEO of Techstars, David Cohen is well known for championing startups everywhere else. He’s also a blogging VC. A few of his investments include Twilio, Uber, Bondsie, and GroupMe.


davidtischDavid Tisch–@davetisch

David Tisch is former Techstars director, and he now helps run and invests through the Box Group. His diverse investments include Fab.com, ID.me, Boxee, IFTTT, AngelList, Kitchensurfing, and Skillshare.

erichippeauEric Hippeau–@erichippeau

Eric Hippeau was once the CEO of The Huffington Post. Now the New York-based investor is a partner at Lerer Ventures. His investments include Buzzfeed, Yahoo, The Huffington Post, and PandoMedia.

FredWilsonZdnetFred Wilson–@fredwilson

With his daily blogging about all things in the industry, it’s a no-brainer that Fred Wilson would land high on the list. Wilson is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures in New York. His portfolio includes Twitter, Zynga, Etsy and Disqus.

greg battinelliGreg Bettinelli–@gregbettinelli

Greg Bettinelli is a venture partner at LA’s Upfront Ventures.  He’s also the cofounder of the MuckerLab accelerator and has worked in leadership at eBay, StubHub, and HauteLook. His investments include Foodzie, Chromatik, and Trunk Club.

armonyIzhar Armony–@izhararmony

General Partner at Boston-based Charles River Venture, Izhar Armony has also had some big hits. He invested in Twitter and Yammer. His portfolio also includes Zynga, Zendesk, and Qualcomm.

bussgangJeff Bussgang–@bussgang

Jeff Bussgang is a cofounder of UPromise and literally wrote the book on VC (Mastering the VC Game). The Boston/New York-based investor has invested in oneforty, Simple Tuition, Crashlytics, and SavingStar, among others.


joannwilsonJoanne Wilson–@thegothamgal

The wife of Fred Wilson is a businesswoman and investor in her own right. Like her husband, she regularly blogs about startup life. Her angel investments include Daily Worth, Kitchensurfing, littleBits, LE TOTE, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Lover.ly

joemedvedJoe Medved–@joevc

Joe Medved is a partner at Softbank Capital and an adviser at the Brandery. He also gave one of the most informative talks at Everywhere Else Cincinnati in October. Joe’s investments include Rap Genius, Thumb, CrowdTwist, and FlightCar,

jpJonathon Perrelli–@perrelli

Another fan favorite at Everywhere Else Cincinnati, Jonathon Perrelli is an active investor in the DC Tech scene. His investments through Fortify VC include Introhive, Social Tables, Fleksy, and The Trip Tribe.

JonathonTriestJonathon Triest–@jtriest

Detroit-based Ludlow Ventures is “angel and seed stage investing without the ego.” As the Managing Partner, Jonathon Triest’s investments include uBeam, EatSprig, Chalkfly, and AngelList.


joshkopelmanJosh Kopleman–@joshk

While Josh Kopelman is technically in the Valley, First Round Capital has offices in New York and Philadelphia, and they’ve been so influential in seed stage investing, we couldn’t leave them out. Kopelman’s investments include LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Path, and Mint.


joshlinkerJosh Linkner–@joshlinkner

Josh Linkner is the author of the book Disciplined Dreaming and the founder of Detroit Venture Partners. He blogs here. His investments include Miso Media, Stylecaster, UpTo, and Quikly.

leehowerLee Hower–@leehower

Once on the founding team at LinkedIn, Lee Hower is now the cofounder and partner at Next View Ventures. He also blogs regularly about what he sees happening in the industry. Based in Boston, his investments include Swipely, Goodsie, thredUP, and Crunched.

markhasebrookMark Hasebroock–@dundeevc

Mark Hasebroock was another awesome speaker at Everywhere Else Cincinnati. As a member of the Dundee Venture Capital team, he’s invested in Graphicly, TripleSeat Software, and MindMixer.

marksusterMark Suster–@msuster

Mark Suster is well-known in the startup world for his blunt take on everything, but as an entrepreneur-turned-VC, he’s seen a lot. He shares his opinions and wisdom at his blog, Both Sides of the Table. His investments include Treehouse, awe.sm, MakeSpace, and DealMaker Media.

michael_arringtonMichael Arrington–@arrington

The TechCrunch founder now blogs at Uncrunched and invests from Seattle and the Valley. His many years in the industry has made him an astute and vocal fixture. Arrington’s investments include PandoMedia, Zaarly, Couple, and Codecademy.

mikebrownjrMike Brown, Jr–@mikebrownjr

New York-based Mike Brown Jr is a General Partner at Bowery Capital. His investments include Codecademy, Newscred, About.me, Bit.ly, and Betaworks.

mokoyfmanMo Koyfman–@mokoyfman

Mo Koyfman is a General Partner at New York’s Spark Capital. His investments include Skillshare, Warby Parker, Kitchensurfing, Aviary, and FundersClub.

nbantaNitesh Banta–@nbanta

Nitesh Banta is an investor at General Catalyst Partners and the founder of Rough Draft Ventures. Based in Boston, some of his investments include Airbnb, Hubspot, KAYAK, Warby Parker, and Thumb.

shariredstoneShari Redstone

Shari Redston is the cofounder and managing partner of Advanceit Capital. She was a media executive and currently holds the Vice Chair positions on the boards of Viacom and CBS. Advancit Capital has invested in Skift, Oyster, Bottlenose, and Newscred.

stevecaseSteve Case–@stevecase

The co-founder of AOL is now a regular startup champion and investor. He founded his VC firm, Revolution. His investments include Zipcar, Runkeeper, Uber Media, and LivingSocial.




4 Must-Read Venture Capitalist Blogs

There’s a lot of noise in the blogosphere, but when it comes to blogging VC’s, founders would do well to pay attention. The great thing about investors who blog is that entrepreneurs can do some initial research before they ever request a meeting. And for those not ready for funding, VC blogs can teach us a lot about the startup atmosphere.

As the content trend grows, more and more VCs blog on a semi-regular basis. Here are some of our favorites:

Brad Feld

Brad Feld is the managing director of the Foundry Group in Boulder, CO. He’s also the author of some of our favorite startup books, including Startup Communities and Do More Faster. As one of the founders of TechStars, he’s a champion of startups and startup ecosystems all over the country. On his blog, Feld talks startup life, startup communities, and the startup scene in Colorado.



Mark Suster

One of the very first articles I read about startups was Entrepreneurshit. The Blog Post on What It’s Really Like. In a world where we often glamorize startups, Suster’s blog is often a refreshing jolt of reality. Startups are hard, but as a 2x founder and partner at Upfront Ventures, he knows it’s not impossible. There’s as much encouragement as tough talk on this blog.



Ben Horowitz

One of the founding partners of Andressen Horowitz, Ben also has plenty of experience as an entrepreneur. His blog is full of wisdom gained from those experiences and discussions of how Andreesen Horowitz operates.


Fred Wilson

As the managing partner at 2 New York VC firms, Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures, Fred Wilson has plenty of experience. He’s been in the VC game since 1986, before a lot of current entrepreneurs were out of diapers. His posts are short and sweet, but insightful. My current favorite post is If You Aren’t Technical, Get Technical.




Memphis Seed Hatchery Investor Day Draws Global Audience

Seed Hatchery, Memphis,startup accelerator,startup,startup news,investorsOn Thursday in a swank movie theater in Memphis’ revitalized midtown district, six startups presented their companies to a theater that was literally, standing room only by the beginning of the pitches.

BetterFed (farm to consumer), MentorMe (e-harmony for mentors), Soundstache (a fan engagement platform for bands), Boosterville (a huge disruption in fundraising), Musistic (Github for musicians) and ScrewPulp (a better way to self publish), took the stage for 12 minute investor pitches after concluding the three month Seed Hatchery accelerator program.

Investors and spectators from Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and as far away as Singapore and Silicon Valley were in attendance to take in the pitches.

Mara Lewis, a San Francisco based entrepreneur and founder of stopped.at, was in attendance for the Seed Hatchery festivities which included an after party at the world famous Memphis BBQ competition. Lewis, who’s pitched in front of plenty of crowds said that this group at Seed Hatchery was one of the best groups she’s seen. Lewis is currently working with Start Co’s co-President’s Andre Fowlkes and Eric Mathews on their upcoming Upstart women’s startup accelerator.

After playing host to a group of Memphis entrepreneurs (including myself) in Silicon Valley in March, Kuji Chahal of Fisher Investments made the cross country trek to hear the pitches from the Seed Hatchery cohort. Chahal stuck around throughout the festivities to talk with all of the new entrepreneurs.

Andre Mouton, an investor from Singapore has been ecstatic about Memphis’ entrepreneurship. He made a trip to Memphis in February which included visits to Launch Memphis, Bioworks and everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference. Mouton took meetings with entrepreneurs all weekend long at the BBQ Festival and over at the Peabody Hotel. Mouton told us that he was impressed at how hard everyone was working in Memphis, that my friend is the Grit N Grind.

Vic Gatto, a Managing Partner at Solidus, the investment firm that seeds the Seed Hatchery class along with Jump Start Foundry in Nashville, made it a point to call out investors in the room with a call to action to talk with the entrepreneurs, and see that all six businesses have a good chance of survival.  Gatto’s partner Townes Duncan, along with his son Walker Duncan, co-founder and Editor in Chief at southernalpha also made it down from Nashville. The younger Duncan was returning from an event in Atlanta. Obviously the Grit N Grind of Memphis is expanding state wide.

Both Fowlkes and Mathews were quick to point out that Investor Day isn’t the conclusion of the Seed Hatchery program but rather the beginning. They recently added Rhodes graduate, Hillary Quirk, to the Start Co team as Community Manager. In her new role Quirk is forming an alumni association for Memphis’ accelerators which include the two cohorts at ZeroTo510.

You can find out more at neverstop.co and at their old site launchyourcity.com

See all the pitch videos from Seed Hatchery’s investor day here at nibletz.com The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else.


The Anatomy Of A Winning Pitch Deck

Pitch Decks,Investors,startups

(image: onstartups.com)

It’s accelerator graduation season for Spring 2013 accelerator classes. That means it’s a good time to talk about pitch decks. Our good friends at investorpitches.com have put together “The Anatomy Of A Winning Pitch Deck” in a great, easy to follow infographic.

There seems to be a lot of different ways to build a pitch deck. We’ve seen over 25 accelerator demo days in the last year and for the most part each accelerator has a different way of teaching startup teams how to build the pitch deck. For the most part, what you’ll notice is that all of the startup teams at each accelerator follow the same model, but each accelerators model is different.

investorpitches.com has assembled their best practices for building pitch decks that work for investors. Of course they warn “include all the pieces you need, and none that you don’t”.

The biggest part of the pitch deck is to make sure you combine story telling and selling to connect the mind and the heart. No one wants to see any founder stand up on stage and just read a bunch of slides. Most people in the audience are capable of reading the slides themselves. What the person pitching needs to do is narrate the slides and we’ve them together.

In working with some of the teams in the Seed Hatchery accelerator this week, it brought me to one of my biggest tips when helping people prepare for the actual investor day pitch. “The confidence monitor can help you or kill you”. The confidence monitor is a great thing for getting your place in your pitch and reminding you what’s on the screen. But you can very quickly turn that into just reading the monitor and forget the story telling.

Chances are you wrote your pitch out, printed it out, practiced it with the print out, and then for the last week or two you’ve been practicing without the printout. Nothing changes on stage. Don’t let the confidence monitor kill your confidence.

The other big thing to remember in all of this is that investors aren’t there to evaluate your ability to put together a Keynote or Power Point presentation. They are there to evaluate your startup, it’s traction, it’s success and it’s potential. Above all, don’t forget to build a product.

Check out the infographic below for what should go into your pitch deck.



Our friends at Populr have assembled some of the best pitch decks in the world. 


Portland Startup: Churchkey Can Company Gets Tech Investors For Their Nostalgic Beer

This isn’t the first time that tech investors have backed a food and beverage startup. Tech Investors came out in droves to back Jonathan Kaplan, the creator/founder of the Flip video camera with his chain of grilled cheese restaurants called “The Melt”.

Entourage star Adrian Grenier and former Nike designer, Justin Hawkins have teamed up to found the Churchkey Can Company. Churchkey makes what’s being dubbed a “Pacific Northwest brewed Pilsner style craft beer”, however it’s not the beer itself that has everybody talking, but rather the can it’s packaged in.  Churchkey Can Company is putting their beer into a flat topped churchkey  opening can.

Before pull back lids you may remember having a can opener in the house that had a diamond shaped end on it. You would puncture the soup can on both sides and pour the soup our of one of the triangle shaped openings. The opposite opening made sure that the soup poured out smoothly. That’s the same idea behind Churchkey Can Company’s flat can. A style of beer can that dates back to the 1930’s.

ChurchKey Can Company’s flat top steel cans are made out of all recycled steel. Grenier and Hawkins turned to the Ball can company to manufacture the cans for them. According to some, the flat top can and the church key opening actually locks in the freshness.

“It’s about the joy of drinking good beer – from the people you drink it with, to where you drink it, and with this unique package, how you open it,” said Justin Hawkins, Churchkey’s co-founder and creative director. “We didn’t make these traditions, but are keeping them alive with Churchkey.”

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