VCs & Entrepreneurs in China: my experience

VCs & Entrepreneurs in China: my experience

ShareWow! I had an amazing experience in China as an American VC. I made a photobucket photo file which I understand can be viewed in China. Please check it out and the captions. That’s my blog post this time – the comments / captions of the photos. Forget this blog post and check out this link here! http://s613.photobucket.com/user/Andrew_Romans/library/ China is a huge opportunity for every entrepreneur and VC. To ignore it would be insanity. They have a totally different way of thinking which works well. I look forward to working with all of you 🙂 And I look forward to helping our portfolio companies take off in China. Get my blog story here: http://s613.photobucket.com/user/Andrew_Romans/library/ Basically most of our companies should be manufacturing or making software in China. Those those that do not want to do that should probably be selling their products and services in China. I view it as my job as the VC to help our portfolio companies do both with safe partners they can trust. We are ready to be the fiber optic cable and help our companies be successful in China quickly. This is a game of speed and trust. Andrew...
Understanding the Changing Geography of Silicon Valley and San Francisco

Understanding the Changing Geography of Silicon Valley and San Francisco

Share As many folks move to the Silicon Valley and choose where to dock their office and home I think this topic is worth some understanding. It is key to be physically close to where the action is and be ready to take a breakfast or dinner meeting in San Francisco or Palo Alto and not get caught in horrible Bay Area traffic which rivals L.A., Moscow and Shanghai. We’ve got the most evolved and complex ecosystem for startups, venture capital, tech titan corporates, etc. There is no point to being here if you are not meeting the right people and going to the right events. Choosing to live or commute to the wrong place will have negative consequences. Things are always changing in Silicon Valley and I have had friends from around the world ask me about this; so I thought to share my views with everyone. I used to strictly think of Silicon Valley as the area of land south of San Francisco and all of the Peninsula and inclusive of the South Bay cities and towns of San Jose, Cupertino and even a bit stretching towards Santa Cruz such as Los Gatos. I used to not think of San Francisco as technically part of the Silicon Valley, because it was not really the physical Valley that is between the Santa Cruz mountain range and the SF Bay of water. I always thought that San Jose was kind of cheating to be in Silicon Valley and the East Bay is really more part of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The truth is anyone in the San...
The Best Way to Email a VC or CVC When Seeking Funding

The Best Way to Email a VC or CVC When Seeking Funding

ShareI am editing the final version of my book on CVC and thought this worth sharing with anyone raising capital from VCs or CVCs… Everyone will tell you the best way to approach a VC or angel is through a warm intro. Beyond the obvious, contacting their portfolio CEOs is a smart way to get the warm intro and do some DD on the VC to see if their existing CEOs like them. That said some of our CEOs are much harder for you to get through to than many busy VCs. The key thing to understand is that VCs get a high volume of deal flow via email and they often have very little time to spend looking at email on a daily basis. VCs schedule a lot of pitch calls with founders and book their days and evenings with dinners and events. So when you send a VC your pitch via email I think it is critical to understand that the VC is most likely triaging deal flow email as if it’s the emergency room tent in a war zone. The VC is trying to as quickly as possible figure out if this is an investment opportunity she should spend time on, forward to someone else on the team for more analysis or expert review or save the team time and pass on it quickly. For me personally I hate it when the CEO sends a lot of information, but hides the stage the company is at. It is hard for me to review a long text cover email in big block paragraphs and a long slide...
Understanding VC Target Ownership Percentages

Understanding VC Target Ownership Percentages

ShareVCs often have target ownership percentages that are driven by two things: 1) ability for each investment to return 100%, 50% or 25% of their entire VC fund and 2) a VC can only be effective on so many boards; so may as well join the board of the companies where they own a meaningful amount of equity. Many VCs have a minimum ownership percentage they target when making investments. Depending on the stage the VC invests at and their strategy it is often seeking to own at least 20% of the company when leading a Series A investment, buying 10% of the company in a Series B when the A investors want half of the B round and maybe 5% of the company when joining a syndicate of a few different investors in a Series C. Many VCs will want to take 20% regardless of stage and walk away from an A, B or C round if they can not buy at least 20% or 15% of the company at that time. In ancient times (80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s) these numbers were a bit bigger with VCs seeking to own 33% minimum and even lifting that up to 45%. With the power in recent years moving from the investor to the entrepreneur the amount a startup is willing to sell in a single round has gravitated downwards to 20% and goes up a bit to make room for many elbowing VCs trying to get in. With the macro economy cooling things off we may see startups moving back to selling a third in a single financing again...
Not Getting Pushed Around by a New VC & the Playbook for Treating Existing Investors with Allocations for Future Financings

Not Getting Pushed Around by a New VC & the Playbook for Treating Existing Investors with Allocations for Future Financings

ShareAlmost all good companies go through many rounds of funding to pursue innovation and growth as well as accommodate demand from investors that want in on a great deal. I recently spoke on a panel where the topic came up about getting “thrown under the bus” where new investors try to take the entire new round and prevent existing investors from investing additional capital. With many new investors active in the market that have never founded a startup, raised angel and VC funding for their own companies or worked their way up the VC ladder from Associate to General Partner, I wanted to share “old school” etiquette on this matter and give everyone a baseline of what I think is best for all parties. When a startup is hot there will be more demand from investors for the round than available inventory in the round. This either forces the valuation of the round up and up, which will push out sophisticated investors and the least value added investors will end up taking the entire round and the company will be worse off from not having selected the best investors to support the company at a valuation they agreed to be sensible. Often times, the new CEO is heavily influenced by the new VC coming in and the new VC has strong percentage targets of 20% or more and the founders may not want to be diluted by more than 10% and so the sharp elbows come out. Sometimes the CEO will tell existing investors that they are very sorry, but the new investor is taking the entire round and they...