When entrepreneurs gather to swap war stories, whether they’re meeting in person or virtually, one of the biggest categories of horrific tales are bad board stories. Every entrepreneur I know has them; I’ll even share a few of my own in this essay. But far too often, the conventional wisdom imparted to entrepreneurs is to treat board meetings as a necessary evil, part of the price you pay for raising money. True, many boards are dysfunctional, but when you build a great startup board, it will be a powerful tool that can help the CEO make the company successful.
This essay, which is based on Part 1 of a two-part episode of the Greymatter Podcast, will cover the fundamentals of building great startup boards. You can listen to the podcast here, or search for Greymatter Podcast in your podcatcher.
We may not know what 2021 has in store, but as we reflect on the year that’s passed and what’s still to come, our sincere hope is that you continue to find a dose of inspiration, an actionable new tactic to try, or a compelling story to sink into whenever you turn your attention to the Review. We know the time you spend diving into an article or popping in your headphones is more precious than ever, and we continue to be sincerely grateful to all of you for spending it with us. Here are the 30 best pieces of advice from our articles last year — take them with you as we look towards brighter days to come.
Follow the latest investment theses & analyses from top VCs and analysts
Over 300 VCs and industry analysts actively write about opportunities in the startup world. We round-up and highlight their content.
Entertainment, like friendship, is a fundamental human need; it changes how we feel and gives us common ground. We want to entertain the world. If we succeed, there is more laughter, more empathy, and more joy.
To get there, we have an amazing and unusual employee culture. This document is about that culture.
VC Rank is a tool for founders to generate a customized list of VCs that are the best fit for their stage and sector.
New Stack's Nate Pierotti developed the idea for VC Rank after listening to the pain points of early-stage entrepreneurs. The front-end tool leverages a back-end database, more exhaustive than any in the industry that took 3 years to assemble.
Our beloved city of Pittsburgh’s startup community is filled with so many incredible companies, opportunities, and people that it can sometimes feel overwhelming to explore. So I made the Pittsburgh Startup Guide that I wished I had when I was starting. I hope this helps you find what you are looking for in our thriving community.
If this guide is useful to you, please share it with others who you think it could help. If you have feedback or suggestions to improve this resource, please reach out.
Wishing you every success,
Barry Rabkin | Director of Marketing
Near Earth Autonomy (We’re Hiring!)
Pittsburgh’s top-tier talent, affordability, quality of life, accessibility, and key industry clusters make it a valuable fit in the growth playbook of expanding companies. Pittsburgh’s history of innovation plus it’s world-class Universities have given it’s robotics, AI and software firms a leg up.
As children, we have vivid imaginations. We stay up late waiting for Santa Claus, dream of becoming President, and have ideas that defy physics. Then something happens. As we grow older, we start editing our imagination.
Here on the Review, we have an annual tradition that we look forward to each January. We press pause, pour ourselves a big cup of coffee, and pore over each article we published the previous year, with an eye for the very best pieces of advice that we’re still thinking about, one year on.
Since the Review’s genesis in 2013, we’ve interviewed hundreds of folks who are among the very best at what they do — and 2020 was no exception. We cherish the opportunity to carefully parse through the advice of the experts that were featured on the Review’s digital pages — from repeat successful founders, to events gurus, to top psychologists.
Here’s what to expect in this Alpaca Unpacked playbook: what you need before raising a Series A, how to time it, organizing a strategy, creating your pitch deck, and tapping the right investors. This guide will not go into the closing of a Series A and the best practices on getting everyone aligned around the table (stay tuned for a future playbook on this).
Chief Executive Officer. The responsibilities of a CEO are set by the organization’s board of directors because technically, a CEO is the Chief Executive among many, referring to the fact that companies are largely run by the CxOs of their respective business (CMO, CTO, CIO, etc.). Managing a leadership team and meeting the expectations of stakeholders and shareholders (represented in that Board), means that a CEO is, in most respects, something distinctly applicable to that Company, and established and operating Corporate entity.
Pre-seed investing presents a unique set of challenges as compared to later stage (series A+) venture investing: the signals, the data, and the strategy could not be more different.
Like every industry, venture capital has tried and true advice that is often passed around between fund managers. But, like in every other industry, the advice needs to be contextualized.
When we launched our Series A program a few months ago, we decided that what we learn along the way shouldn’t just be kept inside of YC. We're going to publish tools and learnings from the program that should help every company create better outcomes.
This is the first tool. It’s simple, but effective.
A few years ago we wrote about due diligence (DD) in the spirit of better communication to entrepreneurs who pitch us at M25, LPs that invest in us, and co-investors who trust us when joining a round alongside us. Though our goal remains the same, our process has evolved from our learnings.
Let’s play “two truths and a lie” to recap some takeaways from our last post.
Due diligence should be relative to the size, scale and history of the company.
We have to meet founders in person before investing — no exceptions.
Our diligence is generally completed in a month or much less.
If you guessed truth, lie, truth — you’d be right! We made several investments without meeting founders in-person before COVID, and the majority of our changes have come in the form of our diligence’s sophistication, not its speed or amount.
The biggest takeaway was that your immigration status should not preclude you from starting your company. Generalized advice is often misleading, so we encourage you to work with partners (attorneys, investors) who have expertise in immigration for founders and follow the path that works best for your specific situation.
Metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are essential for driving and understanding growth of an early-stage startup. What isn't measured can't be improved, and startups that aren't growing are not likely to survive.
Can your company be a Billion-dollar business? When we look inside the early days of companies like Stripe, Airbnb, Coinbase, Instacart & Square, what are the patterns that may shed light on how great Founders beat incredible odds?
Founders want to take money from smart experienced founders. They want people who have gone through the journey of founding a successful company themselves. Someone who can empathise with their experience in a way a professional investor just cannot.
At its core, positioning is a statement. It’s a sentence or two that clearly defines the problem you're setting out to solve and why your solution is compelling. Your positioning statement should remain internal, but it’s critical to everything that follows: Aligning teams, hiring the right people, developing the best product, communicating the value of your work — the list goes on. It all starts with positioning.
YC President Geoff Ralston speaks with Alex Wilhelm, Senior Editor at TechCrunch, about essential startup advice during a pandemic.
The fireside chat took place at Web Summit 2020: https://websummit.com/.
The mission of Cocoapreneur is to foster an environment of economic prosperity in order to ensure more sustainable neighborhoods for the historically African American communities and neighborhoods around Pittsburgh, PA. Through support to businesses via advertising, marketing and consulting, Cocoapreneur aims to normalize the idea of entrepreneurship. We want to make becoming a business owner a more feasible and attainable goal for African Americans in the greater Pittsburgh area.
Providing equity education is a simple way to improve retention and create a more inclusive workplace. Building an equity curriculum forces you to review your company’s employment equity program and eliminate unfair practices. And when employees feel informed and empowered, they may be more inclined to exercise their stock, take a personal interest in the company’s success, and stick around to reap the benefits of their equity.
28 days of micro lessons to develop collaborative teams and establish your leadership skills through a sustainable community from investor, entrepreneur, and author Brad Feld and analyst, entrepreneur, and author Ian Hathaway.
The COVID-19 public health crisis has impacted every Pennsylvanian in every community. The recently enacted state budget includes $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).
Within this allocation, the Department of Community and Economic Development has been allocated $225 million for COVID-19 relief to small businesses through a distribution to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).
The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. This is not a first-come, first-served program. In order to get funds to businesses in need as quickly as possible, the second application window will be the final opportunity to apply for the program.