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Updated by Shyam Subramanyan on Mar 21, 2019
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George Igor George Igor
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Nick Kellet Nick Kellet
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Startup Reading List

Articles for startups and entrepreneurs

The AVC comments has been experiencing a wave of comment spam that has largely been replies to legit comments. I appreciate the community for flagging it and our moderators for nuking it. Keeping the comments free from spam is important to me but not an easy chore.

When early stage investors make an equity (angel, seed, Srs A, Srs B) investment, they typically negotiate for something called a pro-rata right which gives them the right to maintain their ownership in the company by investing in future rounds on the same terms as new investors.

Last week we were driving and two calls came into The Gotham Gal’s phone which was bluetoothed into our car and she declined both. I asked her why she did that. She said they were likely robo calls. I told her that they looked to be legit numbers to me. Later on she found out that both calls were from people she knew, but for some reason those names were not showing up on the car dash and so she declined the calls.

The IPO Price and the S1 – AVC

I expect we will see IPOs from big names like Uber/Lyft/Slack, although I also expect those deals will get priced well below the lofty expectations they have in mind right now. Some of that will be because of weak equity markets in the US, but it is also true that most of the IPOs in 2018 also priced below the lofty “going in” expectations of founders, managers, boards, and their bankers. The public markets have been much more sanguine about value than the late stage private markets for a long time now.

Many people who follow tech know that Spotify has filed a complaint with the European Commission regarding the challenges that Spotify has doing business in the iOS app store.

This is the kind of Kickstarter project I really like. Small, offbeat, and totally awesome. I just backed it this morning.

While we wait for the blockchain/crypto technology to scale to the point where it can be the foundation of mainstream consumer applications (games, social media, e-commerce, etc), there is a sector where scalability is a little less important and where blockchain/crypto is starting to show some real signs of life.

Startups are generally not funded by just one investor. They are usually funded by a collection of investors; the angel syndicate, followed by the seed syndicate, followed by the VC syndicate.

When I think about the big wins we have had over the years, they almost all exhibited a combination of a large market, a great product, and a talented founding team.

The Hidden Cost Of Extending Option Exercise Periods – AVC

Many people in startup land believe that the answer to the challenges around forcing departing employees to exercise vested options is to simply extend the option exercise period to the maximum (ten years) allowed by the IRS.

Let me first say that I am sympathetic to Warren’s position. I particularly don’t like the way that Google, Apple, and Amazon use their market power in search and in their app stores to display their own products. The mobile app stores, in particular, have always seemed to me to be a constraint on innovation vs a contributor to it.

I wrote a bit last Monday about the 60 Minutes piece last Sunday night about getting to gender equity in STEM education. My message in that blog post was that there are many innovators in this sector and not everyone will get the credit they are due.

I saw Zuck’s post on pivoting to private interactions from public posts yesterday and I had a flashback to Bill Gates’s Internet Tidal Wave memo to his company almost twenty-five years ago.

@fredwilson Have you ever written about how to avoid "rest and vest" culture where there are employees who want to leave a company but are held down by golden handcuffs?

Howard has a great (and short!) post on how blogging publicly gives you a timeline on how you were thinking at a given time. He’s right, it is awesome to be able to go back and see what you were thinking and evaluate it in hindsight.

Last night CBS 60 Minutes aired a piece about the gender gap in tech and left out a number of important efforts to close the gap.

Karma – AVC

One mechanism that I like is Karma. You are given Karma when you join a system, and you may earn more Karma every month to replenish your supply. You spend Karma to make a comment. And if your comment is popular, you can earn more Karma. If your comment is deemed to be spam or against the community rules, you lose Karma.

On of our first crypto investments maybe five years ago was Mediachain, founded by Denis Nazarov (@Iiterature), and Jesse Walden (@jessewldn). They sold that company to Spotify and eventually landed at A16Z crypto. One of the USV analysts who worked on our Mediachain investment was Joel Monegro (@jmonegro) who later teamed up with Chris Burniske (@cburniske) to start Placeholder, a crypto VC fund.

An Open Letter To Jeff Bezos – AVC

This ran as a full page ad in the New York Times today. I signed it along with the top labor leaders in NYC, the top political leaders in NYC, top business execs, and the leaders of NYC’s higher education institutions. I believe it was a mistake by Amazon to pull out of NYC and I very much hope they will reconsider.

"The lesson I’ve learned in my career is to invest into the post crash cycle. When you do that, and do it intelligently, you are rewarded greatly" – @fredwilson 4 years ago (in the last #crypto bear market): https://t.co/Fwy1J8ydRr

But today Etsy is announcing something that makes me so proud. I have to tell you about it. Etsy is the first major online shopping destination to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping.

Progress Is Ugly – AVC

This post explains how electric scooters can and likely will result in massive reductions in carbon emissions (and that Steve Jobs was a big fan of electric scooters).

Mark Suster wrote a post this weekend laying out some rules for being a good board member before the meeting, in the meeting, and outside of the meeting. It is a very good list. I particularly like his rules for outside of the board meeting and agree with him that is the most important part of being a board member.

The “Doubling Model” For Fundraising – AVC

I was talking to a friend this past week who is looking at an early stage company and trying to figure out how to value it.