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The 10 Biggest Questions We Received From Tech Startups - NextView Ventures

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These were the most popular blog post we created in the last six months for our startup blog, The View From Seed. This site is dedicated to seed-stage tech startups in the web and mobile spaces. NextView is a leading seed VC located in Boston. Topics include raising venture capital, hiring a COO, content marketing and blogging, and more.

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The 10 Biggest Questions We Received From Tech Startups - NextView Ventures

  1. A N S W E R S T O T H E QUESTIONS 10 BIGGEST W E ’ V E H E A R D F R O M TECH STARTUPS
  2. Here s the deal ,
  3. launched a site dedicated entirely to Here s the deal In the summer of 2014, we seed-stage web and mobile startups: , ( )
  4. launched a site dedicated entirely to Here s the deal In the summer of 2014, we seed-stage web and mobile startups: The View from seed , ( )
  5. launched a site dedicated entirely to ( ) Here s the deal In the summer of 2014, we seed-stage web and mobile startups: The View from seed ViewFromSeed.com ,
  6. AS VCs, WE THOUGHT. . .
  7. AS VCs, WE THOUGHT. . . This stuff’s fun to write about
  8. AS VCs, WE THOUGHT. . . But THIS is what seed-stage founders actually think about. Board Meeting 1
  9. AS VCs, WE THOUGHT. . . But THIS is what seed-stage founders actually think about. 1 Board Meeting(And much, much, MUCH more)
  10. That’s because founders of seed-stage startups are in the weeds building
  11. (Not in the clouds thinking) That’s because founders of seed-stage startups are in the weeds building
  12. SO WE CRAFTED A MISSION
  13. SO WE CRAFTED A MISSION “Help founders give their companies the BEST POSSIBLE START.”
  14. SO WE CRAFTED A MISSION “Help founders give their companies the BEST POSSIBLE START.” AND WE ASKED FOUNDERS
  15. SO WE CRAFTED A MISSION “Help founders give their companies the BEST POSSIBLE START.” AND WE ASKED FOUNDERS “What questions can we answer for you on The View From Seed?”
  16. And we dedicated our new blog to this stuff.
  17. And we dedicated our new blog to this stuff. (Rather than this stuff.)
  18. H E R E A R E T H E 10 Biggest questions W E R E C E I V E D & A N S W E R E D O N the view from seed IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS
  19. What’s the best approach to successfully raise seed capital? 1
  20. No fundraise is exactly the same, but we recommend you cover the following six steps: 1 1.  Line up support and references in advance. 2.  Get commitments from those who know you. 3.  Find a lead investor. 4.  Secure value-add, non-lead investors. 5.  Share good news during the course of your fundraise. 6.  Post-term sheet, optimize your deal. Read the full post
  21. What makes a great seed- stage startup board deck? 2
  22. Board decks should be agreed upon ahead of time with your board. Generally speaking… 2 •  Good board decks are divided into two sections: “housekeeping” and “major issues.” •  20-30% of a board meeting should be spent on housekeeping (at most). These are quick updates. •  50% should be spent discussing major issues (at least). VIEW THE TEMPLATES To help you, we launched the Board Deck Templates for Startups:  
  23. How does an investor syndicate form to complete my seed round? 3
  24. When a syndicate forms and multiple investors get involved, lots of factors are at play at once: 31.  Investor Check Sizes 2.  Willingness to Lead 3.  A Lead’s Post-Raise Presence 4.  Board Seat Requirements 5.  Value-Add (e.g. Platform) 6.  Geography Read the full post 7.  Sector Focus of Investors 8.  Follow-on Capital 9.  Conflicts in Existing Portfolios 10.  Prestige of an Investor 11.  Institutional LPs & VC Structure 12.  Interpersonal Dynamics We go into detail on what founders should know for each:
  25. Is there anything I should do immediately after raising seed? 4
  26. Yes. There are several consequences of raising seed which create some very critical to-dos: 41.  Recognition: Thank others and celebrate with the team. 2.  Logistics: Secure D&O insurance, an accounting firm, etc. 3.  Funding Announcement: PR and legal considerations. 4.  Board & Investor Communication: Share required info. 5.  Hiring Plans: Set salary bands, articulate needs, etc. VIEW THE CHECKLIST To stay organized and execute, try this one-page checklist:
  27. After I raise seed, what’s the best strategy to raise Series A? 5 A
  28. We analyzed our portfolio companies that successfully raised Series A and found four distinct strategies for securing this milestone:5 1.  Build Audience Momentum: Big, fast, topline growth. 2.  Generate Real Revenue: A strong sign this is investable. 3.  Craft a Small Scale Machine: Attractive unit economics. 4.  Huge Vision: Sell others on your unstoppable promise. VIEW the SLIDESHARE A Check out the complete, quick-hitting analysis and data:
  29. Should startups blog? Why? How can I generate demand? 6
  30. Rather than blogging about your company, your hires, or your opinions, aim to do two things: 61.  Publish helpful content that aims to solve the same problem that your product and company addresses. 2.  Grow a collection of this useful content over time, rather than scrutinize the views of each post. Read the full post In our essay, we look at data and a playbook from a startup blog that yields 70% of its results from posts published 30+ days prior.
  31. I’m a believer in content marketing (or I want to try it). How should I execute? 7
  32. This is a hot topic, so we created a playbook to help you execute your strategy. It features: 7•  Exact steps to follow to articulate your strategy and get up and running in not a lot of time. •  Interviews with entrepreneurs who have found success through content marketing. •  Hacks and scrappy ways to build your audience. •  Free tools you can use to save time and money. READ THE PLAYBOOK
  33. What’s the role of a COO? Should I hire for this position? 8
  34. Startup veteran and longtime COO Stephano Kim offers the following advice to founders: 8•  A COO should (1) assess opportunities and challenges, (2) gather and unify a team, (3) identify the right processes and metrics, and (4) mitigate risk and navigate uncertainty. •  So do you need a COO? If you’re struggling to stay focused, that’s a sign that help is likely needed. A COO is the right choice (vs. a VP) if what you need is a leadership partner rather than a functional department head. READ THE FULL POST
  35. What are the various types of early-stage funding to know? 9
  36. 9 While some agree on what a prototypical seed round looks like, many new types have emerged: READ THE FULL POST •  Genesis Round •  Lean-In Seed Extension •  Building Seed Round (Seed II) •  Super Seed Round •  Preemie Series A •  Pass-the-Hat Seed Extension •  Bridge to Sale/Financing •  Bridge to Nowhere The Good   The Bad   The Ugly  
  37. I’m struggling, but everyone else claims they’re “killing it.” What should I do? 10
  38. 10 This is a real issue. Not everyone is “killing it” but saying so prevents many smart founders from seeking help to any number of issues. Communicate with your team. •  Know the difference between honesty and unnecessary panic. •  Frame the solution and involve your team in the plan. •  Don’t blindside them. Hiding issues only exacerbate them. Communicate with your investors. •  Be direct. Share challenges promptly. •  Communicate challenges one-on-one. •  Be decisive about the way forward. READ THE FULL POST Our industry promotes too much hyperbole. We need more open, honest discussion.
  39. What can we answer for you on The View From Seed? Our question to you: Tweet @ me, Jay Acunzo, Director of Platform at NextView Ventures (As the editor for The View From Seed, what questions can I make sure we address to help you give your company the best possible start?)
  40. What can we answer for you on The View From Seed? Our question to you: Tweet @ me, Jay Acunzo, Director of Platform at NextView Ventures (As the editor for The View From Seed, what questions can I make sure we address to help you give your company the best possible start?) (Click to tweet.)

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