links for 2010-08-17

  • When you’re one of the youngest entrepreneurs to ever receive venture capital, inevitably there will be comparisons to a certain wunderkind who was only 20 years old when he convinced VCs to invest in his start-up.
    “People start thinking of me as the next Zuckerberg,” said Brian Wong of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “I can use that to my advantage.”
    At only 19, Wong spills with confidence, even through his iPhone as he dashes around San Francisco to pitch investors. It’s no wonder, since he skipped four grades in school, graduated from college at just 18 and a year later received $200,000 from True Ventures for his new mobile advertising start-up,
  • Venture firms are facing ticking time bombs embedded in their fund documents.
    These are end-of-fund-life deadlines for vehicles raised during the boom-and-bust cycle in the late 1990s. Funds typically have deadlines of 10 years to dispose of all their companies and wind down, but many VC funds from the late 1990s still have a substantial number of companies within their portfolios.
    The typical path to dealing with such issues is to ask for extensions of investment period or fund life. But limited partners aren’t in a forgiving mood these days. As such, venture professionals may find themselves in delicate negotiations, with the fate of their firms resting on the outcome.
    “If you’re a GP and you have to go back to the LPs for any type of request, it opens up a negotiation,” said Michael Taylor, a managing director at fund-of-funds manager HarbourVest Partners LLC.
    The venture industry is reaching the end game on the huge wave of funds it raised during the dot-com bubble.
    (tags: vc)
  • It’s a lot like the Cold War – most of the really interesting fights among startup investors – and there are lots of them – occur behind the scenes. Publicly everyone gets along just great. But declining returns, too much capital and the disruptive force of a new breed of angel investors has created enough tension in the system that some frustrations are beginning to boil over. And in some cases, the gloves are coming off.
    And entrepreneurs can and do get caught in the cross fire. Pick the wrong investor and you’ve closed the door on others. You’ll never even know why it happened, but it will.
  • When it comes to funding, the HR function typically gets the short straw. We live in the perpetual state of doing more with less. And we’ve learned not to whine too much about it. The day will come, my friends, when these tables are turned…I think…maybe…ok, probably not.
    Does your HR department have an administrative assistant? Not one that you only have “access to” or one that you “share” with some other group. I mean one that is fully dedicated and has a tattoo across his/her forehead which reads “Property of HR.” If you don’t have one, it’s probably because a) you haven’t asked for one, b) the other business leaders think you’re all administrative assistants anyway, or c) someone’s not playing fair. This may seem simple to you, but you’d be surprised how many HR teams go a lifetime without this basic – yet crucial – level of support. Next time you think you need to augment your staff – think about an admin assistant before anyone else. Here’s why.
    (tags: HR)
  • Or you're expanding your small business and you need money.
    Or your small business is in trouble and you need money.
    Who are you going to turn to? Your credit is limited. Banks are tightfisted – especially these days. Hey, I have an idea! How about finding an investor?
    Hold on! Don't just rush out that door looking for some rich person with a checkbook. Taking on an investor is a huge decision.
    The first thing to realize is that you're tied to your investors for the life of your business. Most novice entrepreneurs think that once a company is profitable, they can just send a check to an investor and be done with them. Or even just send a monthly check. No sirree.

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