Realistic Optimists

I am not sure who to credit for this saying, but I love it: “pessimists sound smart, optimists make money.” Venture capital is an industry for optimists. It is about betting on the potential, on underdogs, on progress. We consider what a company can become, not simply what it is today. That requires a belief…More

Thank you, Jeremy Levine

Ten years ago, I landed a college internship at Bessemer. That led to a full time job and launched my career as a venture capitalist. As I look back, I can’t imagine where I would be without people taking bets on me – from founders that said “yes” and bet on me as a young,…More

Valuing early stage companies

When presenting a term sheet, I am often asked, “how did you come up with this valuation?” I have heard VCs answer that question ambiguously by proclaiming that “valuing early stage startups is more art than science.” In my opinion, that is akin to admitting that you put your finger in the air and conjure…More

Loss ratios in VC

Loss aversion and FOMO are powerful forces that drive VC behavior. The pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other. Both are dangerous. Companies measure dollar and logo churn rates. VCs do the same with dollar and “logo” (aka investment count) losses. Losses are part of business. According to Cambridge Associates, 20% dollar losses…More

Valuations: What is Happening and does it Matter?

Here is a short presentation that my colleague Jeremy Levine and I put together to highlight valuation trends in various tech sectors. Within the past two years, over 50 new “unicorns” have emerged in the U.S. These unicorns are propped up by venture capitalists and their rapidly expanding funds. While many will evolve into self-sustaining…More

More Money, More Problems

I recently wrote a guest post for the Dorm Room Fund‘s blog about the dangers of raising too much money early on. I think this topic is one of the most important for young startups raising seed / series A capital.  You can see the post on the DRF blog, but I have also posted…More

Scandals in a Male Dominated Silicon Valley

The recent Ellen Pao–Kleiner Perkins scandal has brought much needed attention to the gender gap in technology and venture capital. The media attention and debate surrounding the lawsuit has opened up a dialogue that often remains hidden and overlooked, particularly in this field. But the gender unbalance is unmistakable. A recent report reveals that women make up a…More