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[Decode Entrepreneurs] How VC assess a pitch / The Best and Worst Ways to Connect With VCs / Pay your respects to dead tech companies

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How Venture Capitalists Really Assess a Pitch – HBR

Before Lakshmi Balachandra entered academia, she spent a few years working for two venture capital firms, where she routinely witnessed a phenomenon that mystified her. The VCs would receive a business plan from an entrepreneur, read it, and get excited. They’d do some research on the industry, and their enthusiasm would grow. So they’d invite the company founder in for a formal pitch meeting—and by the end of it they’d have absolutely no interest in making an investment. Why did a proposal that looked so promising on paper become a nonstarter when the person behind the plan actually pitched it? “That’s what led me to pursue a PhD,” says Balachandra, now an assistant professor at Babson College. “I wanted to break down and study the interaction between the VC and the entrepreneur.”


The Best and Worst Ways to Connect With VCs by Larry Kim

Wow, I can’t believe just over a month ago I quit my job. I knew it was time.

Since then, I’ve been focused on raising money for my new startup company. That has meant a lot of travel time. I’ve been flying back and forth between the east and west coasts, pitching my startup to VCs.

It’s remarkably hard to get VCs to take a meeting with you, especially if you’re hoping to meet with top-tier investors. Which is kind of ironic, since their whole job is to meet with entrepreneurs.

So how to you connect with VCs in the first place? Here are the best and worst ways to do it.


Pay your respects to dead tech companies at the Startup Graveyard by MATTHEW HUGHES – The Next Web

An innovative idea. Funding. Hype. Positive press. Kick-ass leadership, and a talented technical team. All of these things are vital for startup success. But they don’t guarantee it.

There are lots of companies that looked promising, but ultimately collapsed under the weight of their own aspirations, or because they lacked a decent business model.

Hoping to serve as a memorial to these late companies is the Startup Graveyard. Scroll through it and you’ll see some names you’ll recognize, like RDIO, 99dresses, Exec, and Secret.

Click through, and Startup Graveyard gives you a bit of biographical information about the company, like what it did, how much it raised, its competitors, and who founded it.

It’ll also give you a list of reasons why the company ultimately failed, taken directly from the founders themselves. No conjecture, and you learn hard lessons without having to pore through countless Medium posts.

[Decode Entrepreneurs] Truth about pitching your startup in silicon Valley / Creating Simple Rules for Complex Decisions

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Truth about pitching your startup in silicon Valley – The Refiners

There are people in this world who are great at pitching and people who simply aren’t.

Engineers and developers generally…aren’t. Sorry about it.

Another tidbit – your startup’s Co-founder or CEO probably wasn’t great either.

With that said, I can’t imagine being a foreigner who not only has one shot to pitch it right but having done so in English.

Wait, I actually do.

In this article, I promise to give you prime intel from my experience of how it is to not only pitch your startup in Silicon Valley but how it is to pitch your startup here as a foreign founder.  I’ll also throw in steps on how to successfully structure your pitch so you’re able to convince any investor in Silicon Valley as a bonus. You’re welcome.

Well, It’s actually experienced from a third person perspective.

Anyway, time for the good stuff.


Creating Simple Rules for Complex Decisions – Harvard Business Review

Machines can now beat humans at complex tasks that seem tailored to the strengths of the human mind, including poker, the game of Go, and visual recognition. Yet for many high-stakes decisions that are natural candidates for automated reasoning, like doctors diagnosing patients and judges setting bail, experts often favor experience and intuition over data and statistics. This reluctance to adopt formal statistical methods makes sense: Machine learning systems are difficult to design, apply, and understand. But eschewing advances in artificial intelligence can be costly.

Recognizing the real-world constraints that managers and engineers face, we developed a simple three-step procedure for creating rubrics that improve yes-or-no decisions. These rubrics can help judges decide whom to detain, tax auditors whom to scrutinize, and hiring managers whom to interview. Our approach offers practitioners the performance of state-of-the-art machine learning while stripping away needless complexity.


Startup Xpenditure turned down 20 VCs, but for what? – The Next Web

In the startup world, venture capitalists can find themselves treated as demigods. Feted by startup founders, by the media and by government, VC’s wield power, influence and, most importantly, money.

Alternatives to VC rounds are rarely considered. It’s expected that Series B follows A, and A follows seed. For a young startup ‘VC-funded’ is seen as a badge of honour to attract new employees and investors.

[Decode Entrepreneurs] Airbnb, Data Science Team, Barcelona

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What Airbnb Has Discovered About Building A Lasting Brand

Fast Company recently got access to an internal study undertaken at Airbnb, which tries to quantify the impact that investing in brand-building can have on an enterprise. Precipitated by Airbnb chief marketing officer Jonathan Mildenhall—who previously was a top executive at Coca-Cola—the study’s underlying assumption is that the tech community does not understand and appreciate what brand strength delivers, and that by not leveraging that tool, Silicon Valley (for all its success) has left huge value unexploited.

Robert Safian sat down with Airbnb’s head of brand, Nancy King, and TWBA\Chiat\Day chief strategy officer Neil Barrie to discuss the internal study. An edited excerpt is below. You can find an abridged version of the study itself here.

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