Andrew Clark's posts

An Investor is Ready to Fund Your Company. Now What?

When an investor tells you they’d like to fund your company, it may feel like you’ve reached the finish line. The hard work and time you’ve put in to fundraising is finally paying off, and soon enough you’ll have the resources you need to grow your business. Not so fast. As any good salesperson will tell you, there’s a big difference between “I’d like to close” and actually closing. From getting partner buy-in to completing due diligence, there’s a lot to think about when closing a new investor. If you know this, and are properly prepared, you can reduce the time it takes to get your check, plus save yourself a lot of headache. Here are a few things you can do to make the process smooth.   Be prepared…

Andrew Clark - February 7, 2019

#Fundraising

Why a Formal Interview Process is Vital to Your Startup’s Success

Hiring is hard, and hiring for a startup is even harder. Especially in the early days, every hire you make is crucial. Adding the wrong person to your team can adversely affect the entire company in a big way, slowing you down and making it that much more difficult to reach your goals. When CB Insights analyzed the main reasons startups fail, team issues ranked at #3, above big issues like competition and poor business model. It’s little wonder that, year after year, State of Startups finds “hiring the right people” at the top of their list of concerns for startup CEOs year after year. One of the key ways to protect against making a bad hire is to run a formal hiring process for every role you fill. Below,…

Andrew Clark - January 17, 2019

#Hiring & Talent

Themes, Not Goals – What Most Startup Leaders Get Wrong About Annual Planning

It’s resolution season, which means many of us are making declarations about how many books we’ll read or how many pounds we’ll lose this year. The ball descends on December 31, and on January 1st—or maybe January 2nd, depending on our hangover level—we set out to make our resolutions a reality. Here’s a stat that isn’t too encouraging: 80% of those resolutions will fail by February. It’s so bad that some psychologists actually suggest starting your resolutions on February 1. A major contributor to that failure rate is the lofty nature of most resolution goals. Goals are best when they’re broken down into smaller steps that are more attainable and achievable. Instead of setting out to read 25 books this year, for instance, it’s better to aim at reading 2 books…

Andrew Clark - January 3, 2019

#Company Culture

Wrap the Year Up Right

Why you should write a year-in-review note to your investors and your team. As December draws to a close, the natural thing to do is reflect on the year that has passed. We do this in many ways—holiday cards often include the highlights of the previous twelve months, and New Year’s resolutions typically get set after looking back and deciding what we’d like to improve. Often, though, the act of reflection that is so instinctual in our personal lives doesn’t carry over into our businesses. The rush to close out Q4 strong keeps us more focused on short-term performance metrics than on the year as a whole. Several weeks ago, I wrote about the potential impact of writing a weekly Friday note. If weekly notes are regular season games, then…

Andrew Clark - December 20, 2018

#Investor Engagement

Get Funded: The Fundraise Tracking Tool

We’ve talked with a lot of founders who have raised money, and we continue to hear the same things: Fundraising is a difficult and time-consuming process, one that is often unstructured and chaotic. Done poorly, it can cost startup leaders countless hours of valuable time—not to mention their valuable sanity. One of the key challenges of the fundraising process is it is non-linear. Seasoned founders will tell you that fundraising is essentially a sales process, requiring a founder to prospect, nurture and move potential investors through a “pipeline.” While this is true, it doesn’t tell the full story. Most sales interactions have a natural order to them, an order that both sides generally understand. The fundraise process? Not so much. There is no proven playbook for getting funded, because every…

Andrew Clark - December 6, 2018

#Software & Tools

Has Startup Capital Really Become Harder to Get?

When it comes to raising capital in 2018, the data seems to speak for itself: more venture money is going to fewer startups. According to the Wall Street Journal, the relative number of companies receiving funding has decreased by 40%. You could hardly read a piece of industry writing this year without bumping into some version of these statistics. (Case in point: this blog post) At the same time, some signals suggest that the startup ecosystem is flourishing. Cash keeps pouring in, accelerators continue to be on the rise, and Inc. reports entrepreneurial activity, though not currently rising, remains steady. So, what’s the real story? Are startup leaders feeling the crunch? Has startup capital really become harder to get? That’s what we want to find out, and we need your…

Andrew Clark - November 29, 2018

#Fundraising

5 Questions to Answer Before Your First Meeting With an Investor

“How should I prepare for an investor pitch?” This is a question we hear a lot, both from first-time entrepreneurs and from founders who have raised before. There is no shortage of advice available on how to prep for a pitch meeting. Here’s the problem: if you’re asking that question at the pitch stage, you’re already too late. Most of the time, your first meeting with an investor isn’t a pitch. Instead, it’s a coffee, or a cocktail, or an introduction at an event. Often, it’s not a meeting at all—it’s an email conversation. You know the saying, “you only get chance to make a first impression?” This is especially true for investors. While there’s an awful lot of emphasis put on preparing for a pitch, an investor is going…

Andrew Clark - November 15, 2018

#Fundraising

The Friday Note Challenge

If you are a CEO or other company leader, I have a challenge for you: spend the next 8 weeks writing Friday notes to your team. You don’t have to send them on Fridays, and they don’t actually have to be written—I’ve seen video updates work very well, too—but you do have to send one to all of your employees, every week, for the next 8 weeks. If you haven’t done this kind of thing before, I guarantee you’ll be pleased with the results. Ben Horowitz wrote that “perhaps the CEO’s most important operational responsibility is designing and implementing the communication architecture for her company.” Put another way, the CEO sets the tone for company communication. If you communicate intentionally, openly, and predictably, odds are the rest of your team…

Andrew Clark - November 8, 2018

#Company Culture