Andrew Clark's posts

3 Key Takeaways from our Series A Webinar

Last week, we hosted a webinar on how to raise a Series A. In it, I and Zylo CEO & Co-Founder Eric Christopher shared tactics and advice on how to make sure your Series A raise is a successful one. If you made it, thanks! We had a great turnout of engaged audience members. If you weren’t able to make it, that recording, along with all of the resources we shared, is available here. Today, I want to share three key takeaways from the webinar, in the hopes that they might help you raise your next funding round. How to know if you’re ready to raise? It comes down to these 3 things. Series A readiness is a difficult thing to pin down. So much depends on your specific situation:…

In Do Better Work, Clarity and Empathy are the Keys to Results

Our Thoughts on Do Better Work There are two basic types of leadership book. The first is the philosophical book. Books in this category are full of fresh ideas and illustrative stories that are meant to inspire. Reading them feels good, and finishing them feels even better. They’re empowering. The best books of this type include one or two key concepts that stick with us long after we’ve turned the last page, influencing our future behavior; the others give us a temporary boost of energy and enthusiasm before they’re forgotten. The second type of leadership book is the practical book. These books forego inspiration and ideology for marching orders. Full of specific guidelines and tactics, the most effective practical books become trusted manuals for doing business well. The majority get…

Andrew Clark - March 28, 2019

#Leadership

4 Key Slides That Can Make or Break Your Pitch Deck

It’s never been easier to get started on the pitch deck for your startup. There is no shortage of pitch deck examples online, and pitch deck best practices are ubiquitous as well. Despite a wealth of available knowledge on the subject, creating a pitch deck is still challenging work. A great pitch deck is concise, but thorough, informative, but not boring, simply designed, but with personality. It’s little wonder creating them causes so much stress. At Visible, we spent a good 20 hours iterating on our most recent pitch deck, and we’re still not sure we have it “right.” No matter what outline or template you use, there are a few slides that you should pay extra attention to. These are the slides that can make or break your pitch…

Startup Leaders Should Have Mentors. Here’s How to Find One.

The idea that startup leaders should have mentors isn’t new, nor is it especially controversial. At this point, it’s generally accepted that having a mentor is a good idea. Despite this, I still think mentors are underrated. A great mentor can have an exponential impact on both your personal development and the growth of your business. They can serve as a guide through tough times, a voice of warning about potential pitfalls, or a source of challenging feedback and honesty. The best mentors are a combination of collaborator, coach and friend. Finding a mentor like that isn’t always easy, though. Below, we’ll lay out how a mentor can help you succeed, and provide some suggestions on how to find one who is a good fit for you.   What makes…

Andrew Clark - February 28, 2019

#Leadership

4 Items to Include in your Next Investor Update (If You Want to Drive Engagement)

“What should I include in my investor update?” If there’s one question we get more than any other, it’s that one. We hear it so often that we recently built a Template Library and filled it with example updates from well-known investors, industry experts and our own best practices. Some items, however, aren’t so easy to templatize, but they are great for engaging investors and getting them to act on your updates. Remember, the updates you send to your investors are for them, but they’re also for you. If you make it easy for investors to act on the asks you include in your update, they’re much more likely to do it. That means better outcomes for everyone. Check out what we mean below: The LinkedIn Search Let’s say you’re…

Andrew Clark - February 21, 2019

#Investor Updates

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

Business Planning for the New Year 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…

Andrew Clark - January 3, 2019

#Transparency

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 Updates

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…