Okay – so let’s be clear on what a “board of directors” is. According to Wikipedia, “A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. The body sometimes has a different name, such as board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, board of visitors, or executive board. It is often simply referred to as “the board.”
All right – that’s done… so, let’s try to answer the question: Does a startup need a board of directors? The answer is… it depends. To be more clear – it depends on what stage the “company” is in specifically relating to its idea or product.
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Of the many decisions a start-up company founder has to make, “to sell or not to sell” ranks right at the top of the list. With the underlying assumption that the founder has arrived at this point because the company is doing great (or on the verge thereof), not only is this is a good problem to have, but it can mark a critical point in not on the entrepreneur’s life but also in the company’s legacy. Selling at the right time to the right partner could bring tremendous value to both the start-up, acquiring company, employees, and shareholders. Continue reading →
The hype around “Silicon Valley – no longer the place to be!” seems to be everywhere in some form or another nowadays. Whether it’s in the news or some high profile former valley exec (who, by the way, probably loved the valley at some point because it helped them get mega-rich!), they are all touting the challenges associated with doing business not only in the valley but California too – and, in some cases, doing business in the USA in general! Fair argument… let’s see if we can break this down… Continue reading →
In business, never underestimate the value of true first mover advantage. True first mover advantage reflects not the first actual mover, but the first mover to garner significant market share. In fact, the gains can be tremendous – become recognized as the leader in the space (whereas everyone else becomes the “me too”), get customers (and revenue) before any competitor can arrive on the scene, and reap great profits and possibly gain monopoly-like status. An entrepreneur’s (and the VC who backed the company) dream come true! Continue reading →
No, we’re not talking about that awesome movie with Nicholas Cage… we’re talking about someone bailing on you when you ramble on about your idea!
It’s all about the ‘art of the pitch’. When you have an idea that you want to share, it’s important to understand that your ability to sell the idea, in the beginning, is potentially more valuable, than the idea itself. Continue reading →
If you take but one thing away from these posts, let it be this: venture capital is a tough business to get in, be in and stay in. During 2009, the VC industry continued the downsizing that became very visible in mid-2008. While the global economic issues that surfaced in 2008 (e.g. banking meltdown, subprime market, global economic recession) accelerated the decline and definitely added stresses to the industry, this resizing is a function of the technology bubble bursting several years earlier – also known as the “dot com to dot gone” era. With many firms that raised money during the bubble unable to raise new funds at this time, a further decline in the number of firms is likely. While fund raising and investment entered a new range, IPO activity remained at a mere trickle and the acquisition exit marketplace declined both in quantity and quality. Continue reading →
So, you still want to be a VC, eh? I don’t blame you… besides the challenges getting started, venture capital is exciting and provides a level of exposure, both technologically and business-wise, that is hard to match. And look at some the new friends you get to make… Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Marc Pincus (Zynga), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Biz/Ev (Twitter)… you get the point. Continue reading →