Want to get funding? Learn to pitch like a doctor

My partner, Aaron Rothenberg, recently wrote a piece about the communications gap between startups and investors. Basically, he states that startups fail to convey their message and offering to investors. In no place is this truer than in the amorphous “startup pitch”. Why amorphous? Simply because this pitch may take many forms – an elevator pitch, an investor presentation, and even the startup’s written materials. They are all some form of “pitch”. Continue reading “Want to get funding? Learn to pitch like a doctor”

The Two Worst Business Plan Mistakes and How to Fix Them

The common thinking today (so I am told) is that startups don’t need a business plan. That is misleading. While the formats (and attention spans) may have changed from long to short, chances are the first interaction with any investor will involve emailing some variation of your business plan.

Weeding out bad business plans is the investor’s first line of defense for weeding out bad businesses. Continue reading “The Two Worst Business Plan Mistakes and How to Fix Them”

The Referral Trap

Let’s start with a little story

A while back, while I was working at a VC firm (Giza), I met a nice new analyst at Pitango, and we had a really good lunch at a steak place in the Ackerstein complex. She told me about a company that her team at Pitango passed on named XtremIO. The team was a good one, people we knew, yet we had never heard of their new startup. I followed up, got their investor deck and invited them in for a meeting with the two guys at our fund who knew this space. About 12 months later we completed our first investment in the company. A few years later we sold the company to EMC for $435M cash. I had left the fund by this time and had begun my consulting career, which continues today with my partner Yossi Konijn in our firm Investable Solutions.

Remember this story. I’ll come back to it. Continue reading “The Referral Trap”

Israel - so many accelerators, so why does it feel like something’s missing?

A recent LinkedIn forum question by Amir Gelman, formerly of The Junction and now of 500 Startups, asked what is missing in Israel’s rich accelerator eco-system. I’ve been mulling this question over for the past few days. It’s not as simple as it sounds. The Israeli accelerator space is full of accelerators with great people helping dozens of companies each year reach their next evolutionary level faster. But there is something missing. I agree. Continue reading “Israel - so many accelerators, so why does it feel like something’s missing?”

The word mentor is way over-used in the startup eco-system

Not everyone is a mentor
Mentor  — someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

With the proliferation of accelerators and co-working spaces in the startup world, everyone is touting their long list of impressive mentors. Many of the people on these mentor lists are truly impressive and can dispense invaluable advice to young startups. But are they really mentors? Continue reading “The word mentor is way over-used in the startup eco-system”