Matt Preuss's posts

Founders Forward Newsletter — December 5th, 2019 (Edition #162)

This is a copy of our Founders Forward Newsletter sent on December 5th. You can sign up for future Founders Forwards using this link. Fundraising How to Find Angel Investors for Your Startup This week on the Founders Forward Blog, we share how founders can find, pitch, and close angel investors.   3 Founder Attributes we Look for When Investing Rob Go, Partner at NextView Ventures, lays out the characteristics the NextView team looks for in a founder.    Why it Matters Who Your “Lead” Investor is Jason Lemkin, Founder of SaaStr, shares what expectations a founder should have when searching for a lead investors.   Sales & Marketing Compounding Revenue’s Value in the Future David Cummings, Founder of Atlanta Tech Village, discusses why “a lost dollar today translates into…

Matt Preuss - December 5, 2019


[Video] The Do Better Work Video Series

In an 8 part video series, Max Yoder, Founder of Lessonly and author of Do Better Work, sits down with different leaders to uncover how individuals can find clarity, camaraderie, and progress in both their work and personal life. Watch the Video Series Here >>> Do Better Work is one of our favorite culture books here at Visible (in fact, it is highly recommended everyone on our team read it when starting at Visible). The video series is a great supplement to the book and covers the following topics over the 8 videos: Be Vulnerable Share Before You’re Ready Look for Opportunity Ask Clarifying Questions Highlight What’s Working Have Difficult Conversations Get More Agreements Bring Brightness to the Room Watch the Video Series Here >>>

Matt Preuss - December 3, 2019

#Hiring & Talent

Icarus: The New Unicorn?

In the “startup world” it is no secret that signaling matters. With opaque benchmarks, it can be difficult for a startup to determine how they stack-up relative to their peers. Success often comes in the form of hot awards, prominent investors, and coverage from mainstream news outlets. Investors are anointing hyper growth companies as “Unicorns” at a rapid rate.  Understandably so, startups have become fixated with hanging their prized unicorn status on the wall to share their success. But Unicorns are fake. Always have been and always will be. Looking at the data, unicorns may resemble a different mythical character: Icarus. “In Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth. Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings…

Matt Preuss - October 17, 2019


First Meeting with a Potential Investor? Ask These 5 Questions

As a founder, landing your first meeting with an investor is an exciting experience. You’ve got your deck together and a talk track ready to go. You’re ready to walk in, paint your picture, and walk out with plans for your next meeting. However, we often see pitches can go off the rails and it can be easy to lose control of the conversation. But the first conversation should be most valuable for you as a founder.  The average VC + Founder relationship is 8-10 years so it is important to make sure that you’re building a relationship with the right people. As Elizabeth Yin, Founder of the Hustle Fund, puts it, “an experienced fundraiser knows that the goal in going into your first fundraising meeting is to ask lots…

Matt Preuss - October 3, 2019


How Employees Think About a Fundraise

As a founder, the day-to-day can often feel like a juggling act. Constantly, trying to optimize time between building a product, growing revenue, attracting capital, and delighting employees. At the end of the day, one could argue that the overall health of the business comes down to attracting capital and retaining employees.  Without capital, a business fails to exist. Without talent, a business fails to flourish.  When a founder sets out to raise capital it can often feel like a siloed process where the rest of the company has little to no knowledge of the status. However, a company’s ability to fundraise is often one of the only external benchmarks a startup employee may have. So how do employees think about the company’s fundraise? And what does it mean for…

Matt Preuss - September 26, 2019


Understanding Power Law Curves to Better Your Chances of Raising Venture Capital

The ideas below are largely based off of Scott Kupor’s new book, Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It. We highly recommend giving it a read! If you’ve read our blog before you know we often compare a fundraising process to a traditional sales process. You might find potential investors to fill the top of the funnel, set meetings and build relationships with future investors in the middle of the funnel, and eventually close them at the bottom of the funnel. Throughout a traditional sales process one of the first things a seller does, is finding the motivators behind a buyer’s decision to make a purchase.  However, we often see founders forego the research to understand an investor’s motivation. Sure, they’ve got to return capital…

Matt Preuss - September 19, 2019


Investor Development: What is it?

Customer Development was introduced by entrepreneur Steve Blank in the early 90s. Since its inception, customer development has become core curriculum for startup founders and operators. Customer Development is one of the parts that make up a “lean startup,” an idea introduced by Steve Blank and Eric Ries.  As the customer development framework has become a widely used approach in the startup world, we’ve decided how the process can be applied to a key facet of building a startup: investor development. In order to better understand investor development, it is important to understand customer development.  As Steve Blank puts it in his book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, “Broadly speaking, customer development focuses on understanding customer problems and needs, customer validation on developing a sales model that can be…

Max’s Note: One of our Favorite Newsletters

One of the best ways to improve as a leader is to learn first-hand lessons from other leaders. Max Yoder, CEO of Lessonly, does a great job telling stories from his personal life and career to help leaders (and individuals) find camaraderie, clarify, and progress. In a “weekly note,” Max shares stories intended to help leaders and individuals navigate conversations and the relationships around them. You can sign up for Max’s Note here. Read past issues of Max’s Note here >>>

What Talent Wants: Transparency in the Workplace, Ownership, Growth, and Collaboration

In his seminal 1964 book Managing for Results, business management guru Peter Drucker remarked that the success of a business is increasingly dependent on a company’s ability to effectively utilize talented people. Over the years, he spoke of a structural change from manager-controlled businesses to more decentralized structures and a paradigm shift from treating people as a cost center to viewing them as a resource. Peter Drucker believed in empowering employees through ownership, transparency in the workplace, growth, and collaboration. These ideas have stood the test of time and have become a vital proponent of startup culture. On Knowledge Workers: Even if employed full-time by the organization, fewer and fewer people are “subordinates”–even in fairly low-level jobs. Increasingly, they are “knowledge workers”. And knowledge workers are not subordinates; they are “associates”. – Drucker, Management Challenges of…