Category Archives: Tech

World Domination 

This past week was busy with switch, slush, venturecon, VC-PE summit and then walkabout. I hit or spoke or cheered them all on. I love 💕 being in Singapore and it was awesome to witness everyone from around the world coming out to support the city/state that continues to punch well above the weight class that everyone thinks it might be in.

I won’t lie – I am Singapore fanboy. 

When I read stories like this about America, startup slump, I am thankful to be in Asia and specifically at the center of SEA. Pro startup with a government mindful of the challenges ahead but super supportive of tech and the role it will play in future societies.

I worry about America but remain hopeful.

Overall I continue to be concerned about the role of the huge tech companies in our lives and their impact on startups and capitalism.

I can’t wait to read The Four.

And on this subject his weekly newsletter is very timely :: https://www.l2inc.com/daily-insights/no-mercy-no-malice/the-worm-has-turned

The biggest opportunity for the Four

The Four could pull off one of the greatest moments in business, addressing a huge social issue while disrupting an enormous, wildly profitable sector that hasn’t innovated in decades. One or more of the Four should launch a tuition-free university that blends offline and online learning, and charges firms to recruit. Student debt and corporate profits are at an all-time high, meaning we need to flip the model — charge firms, not students, for education.

Apple is also well suited to do this as its brand has roots in education. I estimate the economic value of credentialing is, if taken as a market, likely the largest industry in business with 80%+ gross margins. There would be several ways to create $100B+ in shareholder value and catalyze desperately needed competition. We (universities) have stuck out our chins and deserve fists of stone. Feeding like insecure vampires on the scarcity of our product (dopamine surges through our brains at faculty meetings as we revel in how impossible it is for kids to get into our programs), and praying on the hopes and dreams of families. Education used to be the upward lubricant and a social good. It’s now just one of those things.

Other than each other, there is only one thing between the Four and $1T in market value: the perception of poor citizenship. The small-ball strategies of tax avoidance, obfuscation, and the idolatry of youth and the dollar, may turn big tech into smaller tech.

Thoughts to ponder for sure.

I hope one of the companies steps up and challenges the perception of the role they could play and make America proud.

DRM is a pain but needed

Coming from the OTT world I can lament the use of DRM like everyone else but I can also tell you that without out – people will steal every bit of video they can. What else can one do about it then to try and protect it. Without DRM built into browsers the video companies with either push a plugin at you or use some other non-stamdard methods which just makes life harder on everyone.

I am with Gruber on this one – EFF is being kind of silly :: https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/09/18/eff-w3c-drm

Structured Financing

Over a quick bite today I continued to read the latest edition of Venture Deals, it has been enlightening to read it post working in VC for over a year now. I have been able to validate some of the principles first hand while gleaning a thing or two to help me in stuff I am currently dealing with.

I wrote, https://seedvc.blog/2017/09/07/take-a-discount/, the other day and was thinking more about the book in light of how some founders may not understand how various rounds of venture financing works.

A couple of things to note is that usually once you raise money – you will probably be raising until exit or profitability. So an angel round will turn into a seed round, which will lead to an A and most likely a B. Maybe somewhere in that mix you might exit or generate enough cash to no longer need to raise money. It could also be that venture financing makes way for debt financing instead. 

The point being that as you look at your very first fundraise, one must have a view to how the follow on rounds will work and the milestones you will achieve during the rounds. Usually this will map to burn rates and the hopeful product or revenue targets that match rounds and the end of cash cycles.

Being careful about valuations during this process is important but also realizing that more than one round will happen helps to put it all in context.

Long story short if you are a founder or thinkjng abor becoming one? Read the book before you start your fundraising journey since it will probably help you more than my ramblings.

Enjoy the weekend!