Blog

Perspectives on entrepreneurship, startups and venture capital from K9 Ventures.

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How to reference check your prospective investor

Of all the advice I have given founders over the years, one of the most important ones is to make sure they do reference checks on their prospective investors. When founders do their homework on investors, they make informed choices about who they will be working with for many many years to come. As the […]

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Don’t let success get to your head

Dear Founders, I know you are all super busy. So I put the key message I want you to get out of this post right in the title of the post. But I really do want you to read on and try to understand and internalize what I’m trying to say here, as it’s not […]

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Startup Metamorphosis: The Story of Bugsee

We’ve all heard over and over again that “Startups are hard,” but it’s a hollow statement that just bounces off until you really experience it yourself. You have to feel it viscerally in order for it to really sink in. That very experience however, makes startup success that much more gratifying. The story of Bugsee […]

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Computing vs Medicine

In high school, one of the teachers who I respected a lot (she was also feared by a lot of my peers for being a strict disciplinarian) pulled me aside one day and suggested that I should really consider studying Biology and consider medicine as a future. Although my thinking back then as a 15 […]

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Rethinking Founder Vesting

So much of what we do in the tech industry is about innovation, disruption, and changing the status quo. But, when it comes to how we go about doing that some of the smaller details tend to get re-used based on previous norms and templates without being revisited or questioned. One of these norms is […]

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Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS)

A couple of years ago I was talking with a company that wanted to build robots. Their proposed price point for the robots was about $20K per unit. It would be a brand new product, that people had never really seen or experienced before, and it would replace some amount of human labor. After thinking […]

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You Can’t Spell Hardware without H-A-R-D

I started my tinkering with hardware first. As a kid I used to trek down to the “electronics bazaar” in New Delhi, known as Lajpat Rai Market, and go store to store to try and find the components I needed for whatever I was building. It was both fun and frustrating at the same time. […]

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Manu Kumar on The Twenty Minute VC

  Last week I had the pleasure of chatting with Harry Stebbings from The Twenty Minute VC. Harry has done a phenomenal job of getting some of the top people in venture capital on his show and had high-quality, high-bandwidth, and chock full of good information conversations with them in a medium that is highly […]

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Gradescope: AI for Grading and Assessment

  “I love grading” — I doubt those words have ever been uttered in earnest! The only times I’ve ever heard them or even used them is with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Lot’s of people (me included) will say “I love teaching,” but that love for grading just doesn’t come naturally. Grading gets tedious […]

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Stealth is Overrated

“US Navy Sea Shadow stealth craft” by US Navy employee – http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-sea.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons. I’ve tweeted this before… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Stealth is overrated. Startups should use every opportunity to get their name out. — Manu Kumar (@ManuKumar) May 29, 2010 …and I’ve said it […]

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Everlaw Raises Series A led by a16z

Today K9 Ventures’ portfolio company Everlaw announced that it has raised $8.1M in a Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from K9 Ventures. I couldn’t be more excited about Everlaw’s Series A round as it reflects a recognition of the amazing work that the company, co-founded by CEO AJ Shankar and Jeff […]

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3 contrarian pieces of advice for graduating students

I love teaching (Although I hate grading, but that’s why I invested in Gradescope. More on that some other time). Every time I interact with students, I find myself repeating the same contrarian advice to them over and over again. So I figured I should write up a quick post so that I can point students […]

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Asking for Feedback

We’re becoming and increasingly data driven culture. Whether it is my children’s school, my bank, the last hotel stay, a car service, a visit to the doctor’s office — everyone thinks and believes (rightly so) that they need to collect data on customer satisfaction. And now we have the tools to be able to do […]

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It’s Not Easy applied to Venture Capital

Note: If you’re a founder, stop reading this post now. Your job is to build your company and listening to VCs pontificate about their industry doesn’t do you any good. If you build a good company, investors will hunt you down. If you don’t, no amount of reading this stuff will help you get funded. […]

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#PeakVC

  Earlier today I tweeted: Calling #PeakVC. Right here, right now. Done. — Manu Kumar (@ManuKumar) October 13, 2015 But I realized shortly after tweeting this that there is so much nuance packed into that one term #PeakVC that it requires a lot more than 140 characters. So here are some of the things I […]

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Pictures from #FriendsOfK9 2015

Pictures from the #FriendsOfK9 event on Thursday, September 17th are in! Check them out by clicking through to the album on Facebook… #FriendsOfK9 2015  

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Working to Walk: Designing my Walking Desk

It’s Sunday. I could have stayed home and worked from home for a couple of hours (while the kids are in language school), but instead I chose to come in to the office and work here instead. There were two driving factors for me to come in to work rather than sit on the couch […]

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Learning outside the classroom: HCI in the Real World

One of my reasons for going back to school for a PhD after doing my own startups was that I love the academic environment. I either TA’d or taught for 9 out of my 16 quarters at Stanford. It’s refreshing to be surrounded by smart people, and no matter how smart people may be in various tech corporations, […]

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Space Matters: Unveiling The Kennel

  In April 2014, in the post Making Moves, I wrote about K9’s impending move to a new space and outlined my reasons for leaving downtown Palo Alto. I loved being in downtown Palo Alto, but it was simply becoming too expensive to be able to consider staying there long term. I deliberated for a […]

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