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Things Entrepreneurs Never Confess To Their VCs February 22, 2012

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder and CTO, HubSpot
Note: This is intended be a light-hearted piece that hits just close enough on some counts to (hopefully) be funny. Please don’t take it too seriously. (Oh, and for the record, I’ve actually said more than one of these things myself).

Things Entrepreneurs Never Confess To Their Investors

1. You know that candidate you introduced me to? Well, he was kind of a schmuck.

2. We had our management team meeting yesterday and we’ve concluded that we’re kind of screwed.

3. I know I should know this, but I have no idea what participating preferred means — and who should prefer it.

4. We’ve got a big launch of our mobile app scheduled for April 1st, we’ve lined up some great PR and everything is ready to go. Just one minor detail: We have no idea when Apple’s going to approve the app for the AppStore. We wisely refrained from putting an early version through the process, because we’re in “stealth mode”.

5. It finally hit me that revenue and cash are not the same thing. Customers provide “revenue”, employees want to be paid in cash.

6. I’m wondering if I should worry that the 10 year Oracle sales executive we hired for VP of Sales hasn’t really sold anything yet. Oh, and I think he wants my job.

7. My co-founder had a major life event come up (the event was that he decided he wanted one). He’ll be leaving us but is happy to continue to contribute as a strategic member of the board of directors. I didn’t know he had a lawyer, but the lawyer assured me that my co-founder would “Vest In Peace”, which sounds like an amicable parting.

8. Learned from tech guy yesterday that our entire back-end runs on a single “virtual” Amazon EC2 instance. Also learned that “virtual” means that it can virtually disappear whenever it wants. That’s why the engineering team has been working for months on this horizontally scalable, self-replicating, auto-healing architecture so that when we start getting some paid customers, we’ll be ready.

9. Had to execute some “executive leadership” yesterday. At the last management meeting, our VP Marketing was telling me we were getting crushed in the market because of two big missing features. I told her that on the startup battlefield, wars are not won by features. Besides, we’re investing in our future, not our present. That’s why the entire engineering team is working on building a scalable, self-replicating, auto-healing architecture.

10. We have 11 months of cash left in the bank. Adjusted for inflation. But, not adjusted for the fact that we have no idea if any of our large, enterprise deals that our VP of Sales sold is ever going to pay us in a form that can be used to pay bills and payroll. Our landlord is clueless and doesn’t understand the importance of the strategic deals we’re doing and the raw brand-value of the logos we’re collecting for our website.

11. Our VP of Sales keeps saying “land and expand, baby, land and expand”. I don’t know what that means exactly, but we’ve been doing a lot of landing and not a lot of expanding.

12. I’m super-excited! We had our first acquisition offer yesterday. Well, it wasn’t really an offer. And no, they didn’t really use the word acquisition, or M&A or “buy”. But there was some high-level, strategic talk about how we could work together. And, he paid for lunch, so there must be some interest.

13. We’re planning on throwing a big, bad, holiday party. It’s not one of those crazy launch parties. We want to treat it as a “recruiting” event. Yes, yes, I know that there’s no additional head-count in the budget, but we to be proactively filling the candidate funnel. Startups are “all about the people”.

14. Back in college, when you “audit” a course, it meant you just tried it out and see if you liked it. Why does “auditing financials” have to be so intense?

15. We’ve found new office space. To be consistent with the 5 year pro-forma we showed you at the last board meeting, we’ll be signing a 5 year lease that matches the space needs based on those projected numbers. It’s nice when things just work out, isn’t it?

16. I woke up this morning with this really big idea. It’ll make the idea you invested in pale in comparison. The good news is that we can reuse the work the engineering team has been doing. Not only have they been building something that’s horizontally scalable, self-replicating and auto-healing, they had the foresight to build something infinitely flexible too. Now I know the importance of hiring great people — ones that have the vision to see your vision and can adjust their vision based on your new vision. This is going to BIG!

风起云涌:凯鹏华盈拟成立“云”基金资助云计算公司 February 11, 2012

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers may kick off a fund dedicated to cloud computing companies, according to a Bloomberg news report.

Depending on what numbers you believe, cloud is a big opportunity that nearly every VC, including Kleiner Perkins, is already attacking. Market Research Media expects the cloud computing category to grow at 30 percent CAGR and will hit $270 billion worldwide in 2020.

Bloomberg quoted Kleiner Perkins partner Matt Murphy saying the partners are “intrigued by the idea” of such a fund. Whether they actually follow through on the notion, the company has already backed a number of cloud startups. It most recently participated in a $20 million C Series round for AppDynamics , an application performance management company which Murphy said was well suited for cloud computing environments. The firm also staked big-time cloud-based game maker Zynga and Groupon

Given that most startups claim some sort of cloud computing angle, it’s hard to tell anymore what is not a cloud company but some try. Last month, researcher CB Insights estimated that cloud companies represented at least a quarter of all VC web investment deals.

At that time, CB Insights Co-Founder Jonathan Sherry there was “steady uptick of venture investment into cloud-based software and services [in 2011]. In Q4, cloud-based companies comprised 26.5% of internet deal volume and 34.5% of internet investment dollars. Dollar share skewed higher than deal share due to mega deals including Dropbox and Box.net.”

It probably helped Kleiner’s cloud appetite that Michael Abbott joined the company as senior partner in January. Abbott was formerly VP of engineering for Twitter. KPCB currently categorizes its investments in four focus areas: Greentech, China, digital and life sciences.

It doesn’t ease confusion that even traditional software companies are adding cloud capabilities to their existing on-premises software portfolios. Does a smattering of cloud added to an existing product line make it a cloud company? You tell me.


云对于几乎所有的风投公司来说都是一个巨大的机会。根据调研机构 Market Research Media的估计,云计算领域的复合年增长率达30%,到2020年市场规模将会达到2700亿美元之巨。

彭博社引用凯鹏华盈的合伙人Matt Murphy的话说,该公司的合伙人均对成立这样一项基金的“想法感兴趣”。不管其是否会实际跟进,此前该VC就已经资助了若干的云初创企业。最近的一个是对应用性能管理初创企业AppDynamics的2000万美元的C轮投资。凯鹏华盈还对重要的云游戏制造商Zynga以及Groupon拥有权益。

据研究机构CB Insights估计,云公司占了所有VC的web投资交易的四分之一。2011年风投对云软件即服务的投资一直在稳步上升。去年第四季度,云公司占了互联网交易量的26.5%,交易额则占到34.5%。


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