As we prepare for the Startup Conference, one thing we do every year is ask ourselves what has changed. What are the trends that you, the founder, need to know about, this year.
To use a sports metaphor, you want to skate to where the puck is going.
Trying to raise funding from VCs? You don’t want to pitch last year’s also-ran ideas. Slideware that may have looked good a year ago becomes irrelevant when the expectations for traction have changed.
The same is true for actually launching your product. Consumers are getting harder to reach every day, as every startup under the sun seems to have raised millions to advertise left and right. You can’t finish first by playing last year’s game.
Without further due, here are the top 10 articles of 2019 (so far) for you, the startup entrepreneur.
The Valuation vs. Traction Matrix —Jason Calacanis
A great article, based on Jason’s experience seeing hundreds of deals, with hard numbers that immediately give you an idea of what you should expect when raising funding.
What it takes to raise a Series A in San Francisco right now — Jacob Mullins
Jacob is a partner at Shasta Ventures and writes a practical guide about the current investing environment, and what VCs expect from your startup, its market and you, the founder.
Where Have All the Angels Gone? — Thomas Tunguz
This is a very important topic. 10 years ago, individual angels displaced professional investors for early stage, seed rounds. Their success led the pros to make a come back, and that’s something you need to understand, or you’ll be pitching up the wrong tree.
Mark (who gave a great talk at our Startup Conference in 2011) wrote a very-well researched post on seed funding that every founder should read. As founders, we often make the mistake of assuming that investors exist to service us (give us money), when in reality, we should treat them like our customer and understand their needs and motivations.
Interesting Markets: 2019 Edition — Elad Gil
Elad is a prolific angel investor who tells it like it is. This post, without fancy graphics, tells you simply and directly what he believes are the hot markets of 2019: devsumer, real estate tech, AI (of course), transportation, crypto (really?) and more. It’s refreshing to get such direct information.
A Standard and Clean Series A Term Sheet — Jason Kwon and Aaron Harris
When Y Combinator tells you there is a better way to structure your deal, you should listen.
It probably didin’t cross your mind, but “What truly makes VC innovative—and disruptive—is the constant entrance and exit of new players.” VCs are like startups, and you need to understand who the players are. Are nano VCs or micro VCs the right fit for you?
Using data from Mark Suster and from their own CrunchBase, this article provides a good summary of the state of funding today. Seed is maturing.
If you read all the articles so far, you deserve a break. Check out those original pitch decks from now famous companies. Compare with your deck. Feel better? We hoped so.