Venture capital and angel investing insights for founders: How investors *should* evaluate your team, product, market, traction, and financial model
In this episode of Ventures, I took the liberty to record a short monologue that outlines how I (https://www.linkedin.com/in/wclittle/) and my partners at Prota Ventures (https://www.protaventures.com) evaluate early stage venture deals and teach new investors how to conduct basic diligence. I briefly discuss what aspects of your founder team, product experience, market dynamics, traction nuances, and believability of your financial model commonly stand out to investors - for better or worse - when making allocation decisions.
Tips for setting up and managing your marketing stack in a new startup :: with Kelly Jo Horton and Sol Cates
In this episode of Ventures, we pull a clip from Episode 37 with Kelly Jo Horton (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellyjohorton/) and Sol Cates (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sol-cates-649736/) to discuss marketing operations in a growing startup. Early founder teams often leave the design, implementation, and maintenance of marketing stacks as an afterthought, which ends up costing the new company a massive amount of time and money. In this episode, Kelly Jo and Sol help us understand why bringing in an expert - or at least someone dedicated to learning from experts and driving the integrated flow of marketing data - is essential to any B2C or B2B company’s growth.
How to validate a market for your startup without being naive :: with Bill Murphy and Sol Cates
In this episode of Ventures, we pull a clip from Episode 33 with Bill Murphy (https://www.linkedin.com/in/williamwmurphy/) and Sol Cates (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sol-cates-649736/) to discuss how entrepreneurs should be aware of their rose-colored glasses when approaching a market. It’s not easy to face the brutal facts about what customers need and will pay money for, but the process of asking the right questions and making decisions with an appropriate amount of data is critical.
Love & Branding: Do you love your customers? Do they love you? Do you care? :: with Moshe Engelberg
In this episode of Ventures, I comment briefly on my evolving definition of “Brand” and pull in a clip from Episode 51 with Moshe Engelberg (https://www.linkedin.com/in/mosheengelberg/) on loving customers (and whether they love you back). The best product leaders I know not only understand a market deeply and the value-add a product is bringing, but also think about “uplifting and connecting” people (Moshe’s definition of Love) in and around a product to create delightful experiences for customers.
How to validate a new B2B SaaS startup idea :: with Patrick Lowndes and Brian Geihsler
In this episode of Ventures, we pull a popular clip from Episode 12 with Patrick Lowndes (https://www.linkedin.com/in/patricklowndes/) and Brian Geihsler (https://www.linkedin.com/in/briangeihsler/). The clip focuses on how they validated their Business-to-Business Software-as-a-Service (B2B SaaS) startup, VendorHawk, which sold to ServiceNow in 2018 (https://www.geekwire.com/2018/servicenow-snaps-vendorhawk-help-customers-manage-saas-spending/). We cover how to sell contracts with wireframes, how to reach decision-makers, how to test pricing, and how to set up an “alpha group” as a cohort of initial customers to help your new startup succeed.
How to be an excellent Product Manager :: with Jenna Langer, David Pierce, Perry Azevedo, Kiel Sanders, and Patrick Lowdnes
In this episode of Ventures, we pull clips from Episodes 38, 35, 41, and 46 to dive deep into all-things Product Management. Most startup founders are overwhelmed and too busy to grasp the nuances of how world-class product managers think about growth and technical operations. These clips provide an overview and a primer to how some of the best in the industry think about their trade at different stages of company size and growth.
How to start a business :: with Dave Parker, Troy Henikoff, and Alex Giannikoulis
In this episode of Ventures, we pull clips from Ep43 (Dave Parker), Ep14 (Troy Henikoff), and Ep47 (Alex Giannikoulis) to dive into the specific topics surrounding ideation, validation, creation, and early growth of a new business. We talk about market-first vs. team-first, finding a co-founder, financial modeling, and practical advice from the perspective of investors and entrepreneurs on how to build a company from the ground up.
Web 3.0 and agricultural supply chains; connecting farmers and startups via scaled trust :: with Joni Kindwall-Moore
In this episode of Ventures, my guest Joni Kindwall-Moore (https://www.linkedin.com/in/joni-kindwall-moore-rn-57a81014/) and I continue our conversion from episode 49 and focus this time on supply chain issues in agriculture and consumer packaged goods companies (CPG, like Joni’s startup, https://snacktivistfoods.com/). We talk about how a Web 3.0 future would make her life easier, help growers, cut out needless people and systems in the middle, and help buyers find more reliable products and sellers around the world.
The Amare Wave, love vs. war in business, and uplifting customers :: with Moshe Engelberg
In this episode of Ventures, my guest Moshe Engelberg (https://www.linkedin.com/in/mosheengelberg/) and I discuss his book The Amare Wave: Uplifting Business by Putting Love to Work. From an entrepreneurial lens, we cover topics including loving customers, helping customers love your business, example case studies from a new founder perspective, and the existential purpose of every for-profit and nonprofit organization on the planet.
Navigating geopolitics, startup lawyers, and the parallels between the 1920s and 2020s :: with Larry Little
In this episode of Ventures, my father (Larry Little, https://www.kitsapsun.com/opinion/columnists/) and I discuss entrepreneurship through the historical lens of the past 100 years. We talk about the arc of history for him personally and his family, and for the global political and economic situation at large. We cover how to find a great startup lawyer, advice for entrepreneurs, thoughts about navigating political polarization, and hope in entrepreneurs - in general - to help bring about a better world.
Soil science, microbiomes, and loving grains again :: with Joni Kindwall-Moore
In this episode of Ventures, my guest Joni Kindwall-Moore (https://www.linkedin.com/in/joni-kindwall-moore-rn-57a81014/) and I discuss the science behind grains, soils, and microbiomes. We also talk about the story of her startup (https://snacktivistfoods.com/) and how her team is helping to regenerate healthy soils and grains to improve human health.
How are blockchains creating value for humanity? Why is Web 3.0 important? :: with Andrew Cronk
In this episode of Ventures, my guest Andrew Cronk (https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewcronk/, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at https://figment.io/) and I discuss Web 3 and blockchains beyond price hysteria, energy-usage debates, and influencer shenanigans. While everyone has been distracted by current events, the Web 3 builders continue to push the technology forward in a way that is genuinely compelling for our future. We talk about Proof-of-Stake, building a Web 3 developer community, technologies that exist today for decentralized apps, NFTs, Helium Network, what the rest of this year looks like for Figment, and much, much more.
From founder to VC to founder again: practical advice for startups and investors :: with Alex Giannikoulis
In this episode of Ventures, my guest Alex Giannikoulis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/giannikoulis/) and I discuss his journey from startup land, to angel investing, to venture capital, to founding a new company again. His current startup (https://goivee.com/) builds enhanced in-vehicle experiences. We dive into not only the story of IVEE, but how Alex’s experience as an angel investor and VC has informed his leadership style and practical advice for founders, especially regarding fundraising.
Scaling a product management team, lessons learned from startups and enterprises, and how to drive customer success from a product advisory board :: with Kiel Sanders and Patrick Lowndes
In this episode of Ventures, my guests Kiel Sanders (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kielsanders), Patrick Lowndes (https://patricklowndes.com/), and I discuss many details surrounding growing product management teams and operating efficiently at scale. We discuss the various roles that newer founders may not be aware of that exist at larger companies, the skill sets needed to recruit and manage effectively, setting up a product advisory board, what to do when customers are unhappy, and lessons learned when scaling products both at a new startup and within a larger organization.
Self-discovery, discerning our limits, and transitioning from idealism :: with Kathryn Little
In this special episode of Ventures, Kathryn Little (my amazing mother) and I discuss finding oneself, discovering purpose, transitioning out of idealism, saying yes and no to the right things, processing grief, marriage, parenting, and being who you are as an entrepreneur and human being. Indeed, when thinking about the best possible guest for this episode, I asked my mother and she graciously agreed to share her story and insights.