What’s FOMO and how it can work for you

I was introduced to the concept of FOMO by some young entrepreneurs I met, who of course, where less than half my age. FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out. It’s something that can be used to great advantage by entrepreneurs in consumer facing businesses like fashion, food, and events. Many millennials suffer from FOMO – seeing … Continue reading “What’s FOMO and how it can work for you”

Why colleges and universities are great markets

  I almost always advise my mentees to start their ventures by tightly focusing on a specific market niche, dominating that niche, and then and only then, expanding to other market segments. I often cite Facebook’s go-to-market strategy as the best and most successful examples of this. As most people know, Facebook was born in … Continue reading “Why colleges and universities are great markets”

Why raise money now?

We got into this discussion at a recent MIT mentoring session. So I thought it would be helpful  to list some of the ways it is worth raising money, primarily from VCs. Validation: With all four of my venture-backed startups I found that prospective partners, customers and even vendors saw us as more credible after … Continue reading “Why raise money now?”

Start with a niche but be careful…

I almost always advise my mentees to start with a niche, even if they think everyone who can walk and chew gum at the same time is in the total addressable market. But what is a niche anyway? The dictionary define it as: a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product … Continue reading “Start with a niche but be careful…”

Premature fund raising syndrome

Lately as I mentor more and more zero stage companies, I’ve become concerned about what I’m calling “premature fund raising syndrome.” Startups that lack not only customers and revenue, but don’t have a product, or an MVP,  a prototype or even a demo, are out trying to raise money from venture capitalists. What’s wrong with this? Well … Continue reading “Premature fund raising syndrome”

A VC’s questions mirror those of a good mentor

John Lilly, a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. Credit Earl Wilson/The New York Times One doesn’t often think of VCs as mentors, especially when most fund one or two companies out of 100 or more they see each year. If I recall correctly, the year Greylock funded my first company they only funded … Continue reading “A VC’s questions mirror those of a good mentor”

Creating a sense of urgency

One of the major problems facing early stage entrepreneurs is how to create a sense of urgency, particularly with investors, but also with potential channel partners and other 3rd parties they are eager to do business with. There are at least three good ways to create a sense of urgency: Competition – the best way … Continue reading “Creating a sense of urgency”